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                      NOVEMBER 2015
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 23 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 8230-8391)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 

1,677  1,678  1,679  1,680  1,681  1,682  1,683  1,684  1,685  1,686  1,687  1,688  1,689  1,690  1,691  1,692  1,693  1,694  1,695  1,696  1,697  1,698  1,699


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,677

  Sunday, 1 November 2015

 

• Rebel league ‘no threat’ but needed attention, says CA chief [1677-8230].

• Pakistan spinner’s bowling action found to be ‘legal' [1677-8231].

• IPL contributed $A245 billion to India's GDP in 2015: report [1677-8232].

• Pink ball Test debate ignores public's needs [1677-8233].

• Players, not pink balls, the ones to make night Tests work [1677-8234].

• Vengsarkar asked to look into curator ‘abuse’ claims [1677-8235].

 

Headline: Rebel league ‘no threat’ but needed attention, says CA chief.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jon Pierik.                          

Published: Sunday, 1 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1677-8230.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) believes a proposed rebel league of world cricketers was "to some extent far fetched" but the threat of  major poaching activity now appears to be on ice.  It emerged in May that Indian conglomerate the Essel Group was threatening not only a breakaway Twenty20 league but even as a rival to the International Cricket Council. This included the registration of company names in cricket-playing countries, including the company Australian Cricket Control Pty Ltd., while a global website domain, globalt20.com, was registered earlier this year but the site is not yet live.

 

While some cricket insiders believe the Essel group, in conjunction with former Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi, is still plotting, others do not believe they will have a chance of securing the sport's biggest names, which almost certainly will be needed to gain traction.  CA chief executive James Sutherland said authorities took the threat seriously but suggested the Essel Group's hopes would be hard to turn into reality (PTG 1582-7622, 2 July 2015).  “Some of what was suggested was very ambitious”, said Sutherland, but he thinks "there was enough evidence there to suggest there was plenty to be taken seriously". 

 

The Essel Group is owned by billionaire media magnate Subhash Chandra, who previously ran the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) from 2007-09.  The rebel plan is expected to involve offering leading players 10-year contracts worth $A50 million (£UK23.1 m), with David Warner and Michael Clarke initially at the top of that hit list (PTG 1575-7572, 24 June 2015).  CA initially reacted by having top players, such as Warner, put on two-year contracts, where all players had just been on one-year deals.  It's understood the suggested breakaway has not been a major discussion point at recent CA board meetings. 

 

While Chandra's rumoured offers initially appear lucrative, with the increasing explosion of player payments, and endorsements, an annual $A5 million (£UK2.3 m) salary is within reach of Australia's elite cricketers.  The Business Review Weekly's list of Australia's top sports earners in 2014 found retired all-rounder Shane Watson with $A4.5 million (£UK2.1 m) and spearhead Mitch Johnson on $A4.1 million (£UK1.9 m) rounded out the top ten (PTG 1548-7440, 5 April 2015).

 

However, if the money on offer from Chandra was guaranteed, regardless of whether a player lasted two years or eight years, then that may be enough to spark a dramatic switch.  Players fear, though, that they could besmirch their reputation, and earning power once their careers are over, by breaking away from officialdom, particularly if they are keen to go into coaching, administration and broadcasting.

 

Chandra's primary aim appears to be having a quality cricketing product for his network Zee TV and its subsidiary Ten Sports, as they have been overlooked for the lucrative rights to Indian cricket (PTG 1641-8033, 9 September 2015).  His now-defunct ICL owed money to players, and it was in this competition where New Zealander Chris Cairns became embroiled in match-fixing allegations. He is currently trying to clear his name through the London courts (PTG 1662-8140, 14 October 2015).

 

Headline: Pakistan spinner’s bowling action found to be ‘legal'.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 30 October 2015.  

PTG listing: 1677-8231.

 

Tests carried out at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai earlier this month indicate that Pakistan off-spinner Bilal Asif’s bowling action is “legal”.  Asif was reported for having a suspect action after his side's third One Day International against Zimbabwe in Harare nearly four weeks ago (PTG 1658-8115, 7 October 2015), however, the independent assessment carried out at the university showed his elbow extension is well within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under the International Cricket Council regulations.  As such he can continue bowling in international cricket.

 

Headline: IPL contributed $A245 billion to India's GDP in 2015: report.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 31 October 2015.  

PTG listing: 1677-8232.

 

The Indian Premier League (IPL) and all its associated activities made a contribution of 11.5 billion Rupees ($A245 bn, £UK113.7 bn) to India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, according to a survey conducted by international financial auditing firm KPMG for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

 

KPMG estimates that the total economic output associated with IPL matches in India in 2015 is around 26.5 billion Rupees ($A567.7 bn, £UK262 bn). This is the aggregate value of all transactions that took place as a direct, indirect or induced effect of the economic activity of the 2015 matches, says the BCCI.

 

According to the survey, the IPL’s 2015 season saw around 20 per cent of attendees at matches visiting from cities other than the host city. Also notable were international visitors primarily from the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa. The study also highlighted the impact on the country beyond economic that are generally measurable in financial terms.

 

The key benefits and opportunities identified were: employment generation across sectors; tourism development to ensure India maintains its position on the global sporting map; support of tier-2 cities providing key media exposure and development of cricket and sport participation across India.

 

Commenting on the survey, IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla said, "It is inspiring to know that IPL has had such a positive impact on India’s economy; the contribution to India's GDP through a 60-day event is surely testament to the tournament's success". “We look forward to redefine these benchmarks through the upcoming seasons of the IPL and empowering the nation’s economy through our future endeavours”.

 

Headline: Pink ball Test debate ignores public's needs.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Tim Lane.                          

Published: Sunday, 1 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1677-8233.

 

Among the various voices heard regarding pink balls and Test cricket under lights, one has been notably absent. I'm not sure whether you've noticed but that voice is yours.  The public scarcely appears to have rated a mention in consideration of a matter in which it clearly is an interested party. It seems cricket administrators are hell-bent on getting an increased slice of the night-time television action and will seek to claim it regardless of whether audiences – or even players – share their enthusiasm for the cause.

 

While this is understandable amid the evermore urgent push among sports administrations for maximisation of television rights revenue, the popularity of long-form cricket at night can't be assumed. The question of whether the enthusiasm of the bean counters is shared by the public is a good one.

 

Sure, crowds flock to football on winter nights and short-form cricket and tennis on summer ones, but as sporting events go these are very different from Test cricket. For a start, the crowds – having given up their evenings – go home from the former category of contest having seen a result achieved. These are compressed events with a start, a middle and an end. The pulling power of the contests is sufficient to prompt people to forgo other forms of evening entertainment such as cinema or dinner or other social gatherings.

 

Test cricket, though, is more like Wagner's Ring Cycle than a concert. It plays out over a number of days. Or perhaps nights. At times it does so rather slowly. As Michael Manley, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, observed of the difference between traditional cricket and baseball: "Cricket is a game conceived to occupy rather than defeat time. Clearly baseball is a function of urban industrial societies with their time clocks and fiercely concentrated energy”. For baseball, also read short-form cricket, particularly Twenty20.

 

In my mind, Test cricket by night feels like a square peg in a round hole. And while this might be interpreted as the knee-jerk response of a traditionalist, in this case I'm trying hard to see it from a detached position.  Test cricket in summer is a ritual. If you're not at the ground you watch on TV while you can, listen on the radio or follow it online when you can't. 

 

At night, though, there are the aforementioned attractive alternatives. Sport after dark needs to offer something special if these are to be forgone. One-fifth of a total event, particularly if it isn't the first or last fifth, may be of insufficient magnetism to win the battle. Beyond this, images of Test cricket are of hot summer days on which bowlers sweat as batsmen seek to gain the upper hand. Or of grey cloudy ones, when the bowlers and fielders close in and exert suffocating pressure.

 

Bear in mind, too, that while Test cricket from England or South Africa has long been enjoyed on the box at night by aficionados, television's free-to-air networks have lately shied away from programming it on their main outlets in Australia, instead relegating such matches to their secondary channels. Even the Ashes contests have failed to compel the hard-nosed TV bosses to do this.

 

So, if after-hours Test cricket prompts less than total commitment from television, and if it proves to be less attractive than the daytime alternative for the public, what is its worth? And why the hurry in the first place?

 

Then there's the matter of Sheffield Shield games, which need to be played in this format to give players the opportunity to acclimatise. I'd like to be proven wrong, but for all the reasons listed above I can't see that a form of the game that no longer attracts patrons by day can possibly do better at night. 

 

In fact, it's the summer-day appeal of games played in attractive spaces, such as that soon to be employed at the Junction Oval in Melbourne, which offers the best chance of drawing people back to domestic cricket. A picnic atmosphere in a sufficiently inviting environment will, with the right kind of marketing, give the domestic competition its best chance of engaging patrons.

 

The connection between major sporting events, the crowds they attract, and their appeal to television networks is one we're all inclined to take for granted. These days, those who watch sport on Pay Television are familiar with the sight of Test cricket in some parts of the world being played before almost totally empty houses.

 

Unthinkable a possibility though this might be, imagine it happening here. If the crowds stopped going – to football or cricket – the value of the product to TV would be vastly diminished. When you think about it that way, the public has more power in the game than it realises. Which is a good reason why administrators should treat the paying customer with greater respect than sometimes tends to be the case. For the customer is a vital component in making the product what it ultimately is.

 

In the end, the crowd is nearly as crucial to the optimisation of the product as the performers themselves. For that reason, the public should never be taken for granted.

 

Headline: Players, not pink balls, the ones to make night Tests work.

Article from:  The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Saturday, 31 October 2015.  

PTG listing: 1677-8234.

 

Test cricket at night?  The wonder is surely not that it is in the offing, but that it has taken so long, nearly four decades since Kerry Packer trailblazed one-day cricket after dark at VFL Park in Melbourne and the Sydney Cricket Ground, and in the process pioneered a premium television product.

 

It’s all been a bit hard for the game’s administrators — or, rather, easier just to let things slide — to play Test matches not because they value the format but because it puts them nearest the International Cricket Council exchequer. Innovators? Yeah, we had one of those fellers once. He’s holed up in London now and we don’t like to talk about him …

 

There is a tendency these days to ask the question will Test cricket survive? But who wants to watch a game merely survive? To endure it must prosper. And that, in many parts of the world, it is far from doing.

 

Playing at night is no panacea. The export opportunities are limited. In England, for example, floodlights are less effective in midsummer and nights too cold in late summer. Dew in Asia is a problem. But grounds in the Gulf would be a great deal more hospitable in the evening than in the ­infernal heat of the day.

 

In any event, it’s encouraging to see a willingness to experiment where Test cricket is strong. Innovation is too little too late too often, which then stymies new ideas, and wealthy Australia is in a position to provide leadership.

 

Will it work? That is another question. In one sense, of course, it already has. It has stimulated interest, freshened perceptions.  The Sheffield Shield, in which the format is being trialled, has seldom enjoyed such attention. Newspapers and websites are full of pictures of scuffed pink balls, their surfaces resembling those of Jovian moons.

 

The players are more guarded, and not without good reason. The ball is the still point in a relentlessly evolving game. Save for developing a white variant, its dimensions and materials have barely changed in 200 years. In harmony with white clothing on a green expanse, it is integral to Test cricket’s palate. By comparison — and this is purely a personal opinion — the pink ball looks as yet a bit naff.

 

There’s a sense, too, in which such a fundamental change is at odds with what not just players but fans, broadcasters and sponsors have grown used to over the past 20 years, which is greater uniformity of conditions — of playing regulations, of playing surfaces, of over rates, of preparatory regimens, of professional standards.

 

The pink ball, from what little we have seen, is sensitive, capricious. When new, it can swing very sharply. When old, it softens and discolours markedly. Even when it is in mint condition, batsmen struggle to discern the seam. In contact with an abrasive square, it trends towards very limited ­visibility. Cricket Australia’s (CA) precaution has been to schedule the first night Test at Adelaide Oval, rather than at the Gabba or the WACA — they took the additional measure last week of decreeing a pitch for the Shield match with an extra thatch of grass.

 

CA’s purpose in staging night Test cricket is nakedly commercial — and, of course, that’s the nature of the beast. But a curious irony of the pink ball might be cricket more volatile, less homogenised, and also less even — insofar as when you do things might be almost as much a factor as how well you do them.

 

Back in the day — way back in the day — cricket was more like this. Before pitches were covered, conditions within a game were far more inclined to fluctuate. Teams would declare early. Teams would delay their best batsmen coming in. Teams included specialists for adverse conditions.

 

Moves to standardise Test cricket only really began after World War II. Until then all Australian Test matches had been played to a finish, all English Test matches been limited to three days — a remarkable quantum of difference, almost equivalent to that between One Day International and T20 cricket.

 

Despite the impacts of the past 20 years, too, variety remains stubbornly ingrained in the game by the absence of a standard ball and of a uniform playing area. Nor, thanks to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, is Test cricket umpired the same the world over.  So you could consider night Test cricket a return to former customs — and it is, after all, the year of Back to the Future.

 

Yet there is another aspect to the to-and-fro over the pink ball that’s worth remarking on. The Test is being played for $A1 million (£UK462,000) in prize money (PTG 1669-8178, 24 October 2015).  This fact has been widely aired in the last week or so, with the ­implicit notion of: ‘‘Look at these prima donnas. What are they complaining about? For that coin they should be prepared to play a Test match with rulers and rolled-up socks”.

 

On Thursday, CA chief executive James Sutherland stated gruffly that players needed to ‘‘understand that it’s happening’’ and ‘‘just need to focus on what’s ahead” (PTG 1675-8218, 30 October 2015). Both parties want to be wary of what spin doctors now call “the optics’’ of this. The perception that CA overrides objections with money, and that the players allow reservations to be overridden then air them anyway, might not be felt to cast either of them in favourable light.

 

For what it’s worth, the last week or so has seemed to me healthy and robust. The pink ball has been used to less than universal satisfaction. Players have been asked about it, and given straight answers to straight questions. Their observations have in the main been constructive. I would rather that than the mouthing of corporate pieties.

 

If any group has kept Test cricket relevant in the past decade, it is the players by their continued belief in the format as definitive of excellence. Their views matter.  And on the day-to-day ­practicalities of cricket their ­expertise should be regarded as ­indispensable. If night Test cricket succeeds, it will be in large ­measure their doing.

 

Headline: Vengsarkar asked to look into curator abuse’ claims.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 31 October 2015.  

PTG listing: 1677-8235.

 

The Mumbai Cricket Association has asked its vice-president, Dilip Vengsarkar, to deal with the letter written by curator Sudhir Naik that asks for Team India director Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun to be reprimanded for alleged abuse and interfering with pitch preparation for last week's final India-South Africa One-Day International in Mumbai.  Initial reports suggested Naik had been “assaulted”, however, it now appears he was subjected to a verbal barrage from the two support staff members (PTG 1673-8209, 28 October 2015). 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,678

  Monday, 2 November 2015

 

• WICB appoints female umpire to first class match [1678-8236].

• CA confident in its 'sophisticated' anti-corruption measures [1678-8237].

• Players back Adelaide’s day-night pitch [1678-8238].

• Batting at night looms as biggest challenge in pink-ball Test [1678-8239].

• Former mining boss new CA chairman [1678-8240].

 

Headline: WICB appoints female umpire to first class match.

Article from:  Various media.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 2 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1678-8236.

 

Jamaica’s Jacqueline Williams will become the first West Indian woman to officiate at first class level when she takes the field in the West Indian Cricket Board’s (WICB) Professional Cricket League match between her home country and Guyana at Sabina Park in mid-December.  The appointment will make Williams, 39, only the second woman to ever stand in a first class fixture, the first being New Zealand’s Patricia Carrick who, after a playing career at international level, stood in 15 such matches in her country’s domestic competition in the late 1980s (PTG 1566-7525, 12 June 2015).

 

A former player who took up umpiring in 2007, Williams came to prominence when she umpired in five matches during the WICB'S Under-19 one-day tournament which was held in Jamaica in July, a first for a female umpire in the Caribbean.  She indicated then that her aim was to stand at first class level “in the not too distant future” (PTG 1623-7916, 20 August 2015).  

 

Reports suggest Williams, 39, is being groomed by the WICB with an eye to possible selection on the international panel for the women’s World Cup in England and Wales in 2017.  She made her international debut in the just completed tour of the Caribbean by the Pakistan womens’ side, standing in both a One Day International and Twenty20 International, and working as the reserve umpire in several other such games.

 

Williams told journalists: “Its a humbling feeling to know that I will have this opportunity”.  “I have put in the hard work over the last few years, its been seen and now its paying off for me.  I am still pinching myself to know that it is real and will be happening.  I am not overawed at the prospect of standing in a match with male players - I have done it before at club level - but it is still a learning experience for me and I am just open to all the challenges it will bring”.

 

During her first class debut Williams will be standing with Peter Nero, a West Indian member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  The week before that will work as the reserve umpire in the first class game between Jamaica and the Leeward Islands, which will also be played at Sabina Park.

 

Talking about her recent international experience, Williams said working with Nero and his fellow IUP members Joel Wilson, Gregory Brathwaite and Nigel Duguid, as well as match referees Hayden Bruce and Michael Ragoonath, during the Pakistan tour, was “invaluable”.  "Its been unbelievable and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them and learn so much in such a short period of time.  The things I have learnt I will also be looking to transfer that knowledge to other umpires in Jamaica so they can benefit too”.

 

Williams was one of four female umpires who joined two dozen of their male colleagues in a workshop held in Trinidad in June.

 

Headline: CA confident in its 'sophisticated' anti-corruption measures.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jon Pierik.                          

Published: Sunday, 1 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1678-8237.

 

As a new Australian summer again throws up the spectre of illegal gambling, Cricket Australia (CA) is confident its sophisticated anti-corruption program will protect the game and the players.  Punters continue to flock to cricket no matter where matches are played in the world, with more than $A600 million (£UK277 m) bet on matches in the local Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) last season.

 

But CA has lifted its anti-corruption measures domestically and internationally in recent years, and now shares intelligence with English and Indian authorities, while having an official memorandum of understanding with the International Cricket Council (ICC).  This comes at a time when cricket's corruptors are becoming more sophisticated in the way they target players and officials, something that led Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the ICC's anti-corruption chief, to say recently that corruption will never leave cricket and authorities had to persist in erasing threats such as match and spot fixing (PTG 1650-8071, 24 September 2015)..

 

The ongoing case involving former New Zealand player Chris Cairns and allegations of match-fixing, albeit allegedly conducted in the now defunct, and independently owned, Indian Cricket League, also shows how easy it can be for high-profile players to find themselves scrutinised (PTG 1659-8125, 8 October 2015).  However, the advances cricket has made were acknowledged when organisers of the Rugby World Cup sought input from the ICC.

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland said his organisation was moving with the times.  "I am sure those sorts of people [illegal gamblers] are trying all sorts of things”, Sutherland said.  "But at the same time, our education programs are pretty sophisticated in understanding how these sorts of relationships can open up and how you can close these things down even before you start”.

 

"We start that from a very early age now and repeat it over and over again and we keep changing the way people are trained. It's happening all over the world.  It's nothing to be over-confident about but at the same time we continue to enhance our programs, both in an educative sense but at match and around hotels”.

 

Sutherland said the Cairns case had reinforced that cricket "can't be complacent about the risk – any sport can't be complacent about the risk to compromising the integrity of the game”.  "The biggest wake-up call was the Hansie Cronje one, and if you talk to experts, and I have recently been involved in a major review of the anti-corruption activities of the ICC ... the independent people that came in were astounded at how far advanced cricket was compared to other sports they have seen”.

 

There is at least one anti-corruption officer at all international and BBL matches, while players have to hand their mobile phones in before play.  CA has also employed a bet monitoring company, Sport radar, to keep abreast of any suspicious moves (PTG 1238-5979, 21 November 2013).  CA's dedicated integrity unit is headed by senior legal counsel Iain Roy, and was established in 2013 after an independent report by former AFL operations manager, Adrian Anderson (PTG 861-4207, 17 November 2011).

 

Headline: Players back Adelaide’s day-night pitch.

Article from: Adelaide Advertiser.

Journalist: Richard Earle.                          

Published: Sunday, 1 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1678-8238.

 

Tearing up the rule book has secured curator Damian Hough the tick of approval from Test players including Australian skipper Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc ahead of Adelaide’s inaugural pink-ball Test match.  Hough shook up his approach to preparing the pitch for last week’s Sheffield Shield, day-night season opener between South Australia and New South Wales in Adelaide. The result was a drop-in strip that protected the pink ball and promoted the contest wanted by fans and players alike for the landmark third Test between Australia and New Zealand in just over three weeks time.

 

Hough told News Corporation: “My preparation for the last two day-night [Sheffield Shield] games to this one was completely different. The last two seasons we have gone down a path of trying to get the pitch to naturally deteriorate.  This year we tried to increase our rolling and compaction. We had the coarse grass on top and it was coming through a lot better.  I suppose you had a lot more players behind the ball, a lot more chance of an edge but players were still able to make runs”.

 

Smith, who scored an unbeaten 152 for NSW in the second innings in Adelaide said: “I think it has been good to go out there, he’s done well with the surface”.  “It held together quite and that’s good signs. The seam was harder to see during the day but I thought it played quite well".

 

Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon and former Australian coach Tim Nielsen delivered positive reinforcement while pink ball critic Starc was soothed after collecting match figures of 8/51 against the South Australians.  “Smithy said it was good, thought spin was there for spinners to take wickets and keep interested in the game, the batters were able to score runs and there was something for everyone which is in the best interests of cricket”, said Hough.

 

“My feedback was the ball definitely handled the surface where the last two years on our abrasive surface the ball deteriorated a lot quicker”, continued Hough (PTG 1669-8178, 24 October 2015).  “You don’t want to change because of a ball but if you can tweak what you are doing and still have a pitch with Adelaide characteristics and values I think we need to do it”.  Hough says the pink ball is not dictating the nature or integrity of his Test pitch but was duty bound to strike a happy medium as cricket embraced a new age.

 

Hough’s former assistant and now national spinner Lyon was impressed with the turn on offer throughout the game against South Australia in a pointer to his third Test prospects.  “I thought the pitch was fantastic. I actually think it suits the pink ball. There was a bit more grass on it, credit to Damian Hough”, said Lyon. "There was a little bit in it early for the seam bowlers but then Smithy proved if you get through that early stage of an innings, you can go on and score runs.  And for me personally there was some good bounce and spin”.

 

Headline: Batting at night looms as biggest challenge in pink-ball Test.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Monday, 2 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1678-8239.

 

Batting under lights proved to be the hardest time to be at the crease in last week's day-night Sheffield Shield round, with looming day-night Test venue Adelaide Oval seemingly the toughest place to bat late in the day against the pink ball.  While the results for Adelaide were arguably skewed by the presence of Australian paceman Mitch Starc for NSW, their final session accounted for almost half of the wickets to fall across the three matches.  

 

Of the 10 final sessions played in the past week only twice did a team not lose at least two wickets: NSW's 0/125 on day two in Adelaide against South Australia and Victoria's 0/116 on day two at the MCG against Queensland.

 

On either side of NSW's day-two effort in Adelaide, 15 wickets fell in the final sessions of days one and three, at an average of just 9.07. Ten of those wickets came on the opening day, when NSW lost six wickets and then had South Australia 3/3 after declaring with six overs remaining in the day.

 

In Hobart, at least three wickets fell in the final session, under lights, on all four days, for a total of 16 at an average of 23.31.  That was twice the number that fell in three days in Melbourne.  At both the Adelaide and Bellerive Ovals it was statistically easiest to bat in the second session, between the tea and dinner breaks.  The outlier was the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Across four days only five wickets fell in the first session, at an average of 74.8.

 

When the results from all three venues were combined there was little difference between the first and second sessions: 24 wickets at 42.54 in the mid-afternoon and 26 at 37.69 in the late-afternoon session.  Thirty-nine of the 89 wickets to fall in round one of the shield fell in the final session, at an average of 24.72.

 

The clear success of NSW's late declaration on day one, because of the new-ball wickets taken by Starc and Josh Hazlewood, could persuade Australia captain Steve Smith and his New Zealand counterpart Brendon McCullum to do the same in the series-ending Test in Adelaide, because both boast dangerous fast-bowling attacks.

 

The Black Caps used the pink ball in their recent one-dayer against the Prime Minister's XI. Their only other match-practice opportunity will come in a tour match in Perth against Western Australia, to be held between the second and third Tests (PTG 1674-8212, 29 October 2015).

 

Headline: Former mining boss new CA chairman.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 1 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1678-8240.

 

Retired mining chief David Peever has become the new chairman of Cricket Australia (CA) replacing the outgoing Wally Edwards.  Peever, 58, the former managing director of Rio Tinto Australia, was elected at the cricket body's Annual General Meeting in Melbourne.  A CA director since 2012 he becomes the first chairman in CA’s history to be elected to the position independent of state interests (PTG 1346-6505, 5 May 2014).

 

Peever takes over after the end of Edwards’s four-year term, which was marked by changes to the game’s governance and national financial model.  "This is a key time for Australian cricket. A lot of significant change has occurred for the better on and off the field:, Peever said in a statement.  "But in an ever changing world, I believe we have to work harder than ever before to maintain cricket’s privileged place as Australia’s traditional summer pastime”.

 

In addition to taking over from Edwards at CA, Peever will also assume the role of chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Executive Committee that has been established as part of last year's ICC revamp (PTG 1279-6160, 30 January 2014).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,679

 Tuesday, 3 November 2015

 

• Australia ready to sledge NZ, but on ‘the right side' of that 'line' [1679-8241].

• Penalty runs awarded after fieldsman returns without permission [1679-8242].

• Change is coming ready or not [1679-8243].

• Leaked dossier points to ‘looting' of ZC finances [1679-8244].

• Cricket's fight to get on the front foot [1679-8245].

 

Headline: Australia ready to sledge NZ, but on ‘the right side' of that 'line' .

Article from:  New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: David Leggat.                          

Published: Tuesday, 3 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1679-8241.

 

Two days from the start of the first Test, Australia's captain Steven Smith has given his New Zealand rival Brendon McCullum a verbal slap and promised no holding back on sledging their opponents in the series.  Smith, ahead of what will be his first series since taking over from Michael Clarke, was reacting to criticism by McCullum over an incident during Australia's tour of England this year (PTG 1639-8021, 7 September 2015).

 

Smith's failure to withdraw an appeal after England player Ben Stokes was given out obstructing the stumps from an attempted run out while taking evasive action, drew a sharp opinion from McCullum.  "We've all done things on the field that we regret later, I know I certainly have”, McCullum wrote in a column in Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.  "But it was disappointing that Smith had a chance to make a statement about the way he wants his side to play the game and chose to go the other way.  By not withdrawing the appeal, Smith showed his immaturity. He may live to regret it”.

 

Smith admitted he was ''a little bit disappointed" by McCullum's comments.  ''I didn't really think it was any of his business”, he told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.  He insisted he had moved on from the incident but ''wouldn't change a thing" if the incident was replayed. ''No regrets”, he added.

 

While Australia's hefty sledging of New Zealand batsmen during this year's World Cup final left a sour taste (PTG 1544-7422, 31 March 2015), Smith won't shy away of being tough-minded in their on-field approach.  "I think that's the way we play our best cricket - if we're aggressive and positive”, he said.  "We know there's a line that can't be crossed and our players are going to be playing that hard aggressive cricket and making sure we stay on the right side of that line”.

 

Headline: Penalty runs awarded after fieldsman returns without permission.

Article from:  Match scorecard.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 2 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1679-8242.

 

The Highveld Lions were penalised five runs whilst in the field in a Cricket South Africa Twenty20 match against the Cape Cobras in Cape Town on Sunday because one of their players had returned to the field of play without informing umpires Marais Erasmus and Bongani Jele.  

 

In the 18th over of the Cobras’ innings, batsman Kieron Pollard launched fast-medium bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe towards the long-off boundary where Devon Conway claimed an easy catch.  However, the umpires called dead-ball, called Pollard back to the crease, awarded the penalty runs, and did not count the ball as one in the over, for Conway had left the field without informing them, then returned to take the catch. 

 

Headline: Change is coming ready or not.

Article from:  The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Tuesday, 3 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1679-8243.

 

A week to go before world cricket’s biggest meeting. Nothing to do with the dead letter of the International Cricket Council (ICC), of course — the gathering in question is the Annual General Meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The latter body may well have news for the former, if this strategic leak can be believed: Former BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan, who is now the ICC’s chairman, may have to leave that position and be replaced by newly-elected BCCI president Shashank Manohar. 

 

In the face of some months of rumours about Srini’s hold on power, the ICC has been playing a straighter bat than Len Hutton. But change is coming, ready or not. Srini’s Australian helpmate, Wally Edwards, has returned to the farm, like a Cincinnatus among the truffles (PTG 1675-8222, 30 October 2015).  The third member of the troika who conceived of the ICC’s 'Big 3' restructure, the England Cricket Board’s Giles Clarke, is boss of an office of one, with the ICC for example exploring Olympic matters, an issue he previously publicly opposed (PTG 1667-8172, 21 October 2015).

 

It was always going to be all fun and games until someone lost an eye. The BCCI is at loggerheads with two other members of the ICC’s executive committee: the Pakistan Cricket Board and the West Indies Cricket Board (PTG 1671-8197, 26 October 2015).  A senior official at Sri Lankan Cricket is suspected of match fixing  (PTG 1661-8133, 13 October 2015).   Senior officials at Zimbabwe Cricket are accused of corruption (PTG 1679-8244 below).

 

Whomever the BCCI nominates for the ICC chairmanship — and unlike America, there are second acts in Indian cricket administrative lives — will have a bulging In Tray. That’s what happens when you help yourself to power. People suddenly develop a disconcerting desire to see you exercise it prudently.

 

Headline: Leaked dossier points to ‘looting' of ZC finances.

Article from:  NewZimbabwe.com.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 1 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1679-8244.

 

A dossier leaked to NewZimbabwe.com has exposed what could be massive looting by Zimbabwe Cricket's (ZC) top managers who blew a $US10 million ($A14 m, £UK6.5 m) bank loan in often hazy expenditure over just five months.  It has also emerged ZC’s daily running costs are being dwarfed by hefty perks drawn monthly by the troubled association’s top-heavies.  According to the document, ZC secured the $US10 million from Ecobank in December 2014, but by May this year, just $US97 ($A136, £UK63) of it remained.

 

$US7.5 million ($A10.5 m, £UK4.9 m) of the loan is said to have been used by management to repay another controversial obligation to the Metropolitan Bank.  The statement shows ZC paid the amount in two sums: $US5.5 million ($A7.7 m, £UK3.6 m) in December and a further $US2 million ($A2.8 m, £UK1.3 m) in January.  

 

A December 2014 salary schedule also shows that ZC chief executive Wilfred Mukondiwa pockets a cool $US15,700 ($22,200, £UK10,200) monthly salary and is highest earner in the organisation, staff and players included.  Mukondiwa’s deputy, Esther Lupepe, is second on the top-earners’ list with $US10,000 ($A14,000, £UK6,500), followed by Cricket Affairs general manager Trevor Mutangadura and Corporate Affairs GM Nesta Vaki who both received $US5,250 ($A7,360, £UK3,400)  

 

Remarkably, long-serving media manager Lovemore Banda, who often has the unenviable task of cleaning up the association’s battered image, earns even less than fellow middle management staffers who are his juniors.  The former sports broadcaster is paid $US2,500 a month ($A3,500, £UK1,620) while Cricket Operations Manager Chris Chiketa, Human Resources Manager, Tafadzwa Rafemoyo and Commercial Officer, Edward Rainsford all on $US3,000 ($A4,205, £UK1,950).  

 

The lopsided payroll also shows that as Franchise Administrator of Manicaland Mountaineers, Givemore Makoni, on a $US4,000 per-month salary ($A5,600, £UK2,600), was paid twice as much as his counterparts at the other franchises.  Terry Nyakurimwa, Administrator of Mashonaland Eagles, the country’s biggest and busiest franchise, earns $US2,000 ($A2,800, £UK810). Kenyon Ziehl of Midlands Rhinos gets the same amount while Matabeleland Tuskers’ Stanley Staddon is on $2,500 ($A3,505, £UK1,620).

 

In addition to his fulltime job in Manicaland, Makoni is also listed on the payroll under “Consultants” for his other role as Zimbabwe’s convener of selectors, which earned him an extra $US1,000 every month ($A1,400, £UK650).  Makoni has since left both roles and assigned by ZC to a new post.  Board members Lincoln Bhila and Elisha Kandi also receive $1,500 monthly salaries as “consultants” ($A2,100, £UK975).

 

Nyarai Manyande, whose job is to run scorecards during matches on $750 per month ($A1,050, £UK490), earns more as a part-timer than fulltime development coaches and professionals such as psychotherapists.  It has further emerged that while a group of 15 leading players with central contracts are paid competitively, at least by Zimbabwean standards, the majority of cricketers in the country and development coaches are underpaid and wallowing in poverty.

 

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source close to the goings on at ZC lambasted the cricket governors for poor management and greed.  “Worryingly, for an organisation which generates its revenue from the game being played and owes its existence to it, paltry figures went towards development and other cricket-related expenses”, said the source.

 

ZC spokesperson Banda said he could not readily proffer comment on a document he had not yet seen. "The challenge is that you are referring to a document that I have not seen”,  he said. "Even if I see the document, I may still need to run it past my guys”.  However, he confirmed he was grossing $US2,500 as was shown in the document.

 

ZC has previously come under pressure from the cricket fraternity to publish audited accounts of how much exactly was borrowed from Metropolitan Bank, the payment plan and interest rates as well as how the money was used.  A number of players and coaches have also prematurely ended their careers in frustration.  This exposé comes at a time Zimbabwean cricket seems to be a downward spiral again with the national team recently being defeated by Afghanistan.

 

Cricket in Zimbabwe had appeared to be on an upswing on and off the field after Harare lawyer and businessman Wilson Manase took over as chairman on an interim basis from the retiring Peter Chingoka in July 2014 who was made an Honorary vice-president (PTG 1445-7003, 9 October 2014).  But Manase soon fell out with a senior secretariat safeguarding its comfortable position after he started making unpopular decisions such as balancing books and streamlining the organisation as well as moves to cut salaries of the organisation’s elaborate executive.  

 

When Manase tried to seek his own term at board elections in August, he was defeated by Tavengwa Mukuhlani after what is believed to have been a cleverly engineered campaign.  Manase did not even make it to the new board.

 

Headline: Cricket's fight to get on the front foot.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jon Pierik.                          

Published: Monday, 2 November 2015.

PTG listing: 1679-8245.

 

A $A99 (£UK45.8 m) million profit, a tighter hold on the running of world cricket, a burgeoning Twenty20 competition and strong men's and women's programs on local shores would suggest Cricket Australia (CA) has little to worry about.  But heading into the new international season, the sport still struggles to get a foothold within the media just days out from the first Test in Brisbane.

 

The expanding seasons of Australian Rules Football (AFL) and the National Rugby League (NRL), where in the former the premiership season morphs into trade hysteria then a fight for titbits of next season's fixture before this week turning its attention to the national draft, makes it hard for cricket to get oxygen at a time it once did.  The spring racing carnival also takes hold, and will mean that the Melbourne Cup will almost dominate right up until the first ball is bowled at the Gabba on Thursday. The Rugby World Cup has also meant the sporting focus has been elsewhere, particularly in the northern states.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has laid out his organisation's five-point plan to be Australia's "favourite sport". This includes a focus on developing programs for girls and women, fans, community programs and, of course, strong national teams.  Beyond 2017, he also hopes for cricket to be the Number one sport in the media. During the heart of summer and, at times, during overseas tours, particularly in a perverse way when there is an on-field calamity, as was the case at Nottingham this year, it enjoys that title. But certainly in the southern states when the AFL tank is up and running, it's a tough ask.

 

CA recognises it is hard to gain traction at this stage of the year but appears to be understanding of this.  "It's challenging. We do work in a highly competitive environment, not just in terms of our events and getting media coverage, but also in participation sense. Kids today have multiple sports to play and be involved in, and that creates its own challenges”, Sutherland said.

 

"We do see ourselves as somewhat different in the nature of our season. AFL and NRL and even round-ball football tend to have a league season that goes throughout the whole year. But, for us, we have different formats that come and go at different stages. We have an international season that is through November until mid February".

 

"Traditionally, we have a Big Bash League [BBL] in the middle of that. We know that things start to ramp up once the international season comes but, at the same time, we also know out there there are well over a million people playing cricket right now, at the end of October going into November, and all of our indicators about cricket participation are really strong for this year, as they were last year.  "We know cricket people out there are ready to go and can't wait for Test cricket to start”.

 

That may be the case but the concern this year is that the New Zealand series will be the highlight – one which will be over by the end of the first week of December. The West Indies, to feature in the blue-chip Tests of Melbourne and Sydney, are a swaggering mess, and have never recovered from losing their crown to Australia 20 years ago.

 

As the international Future Tours Program is set seven years out, authorities bet at the time that the Windies would be the better attraction. Instead, highlighting the changing freelancing face of the sport, some of their best players will be suiting up in the corresponding BBL.  The BBL will again be a success. No doubt about that. However, unless the West Indies can surprise in their three-Test series, the international game faces a fight to have the hold it should enjoy during the Christmas and new year period.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,680

 Wednesday, 4 November 2015

 

• Pink ball passes day-night tracking tests [1680-8246].

• ‘Not playing for a ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award’, says Warner [1680-8247].

• IPL has helped deal with sledging, claims Dhoni [1680-8248].

• Windies fined for slow ODI over-rate, captain suspended [1680-8249].

• New president continues BCCI shake-up [1680-8250].

• CSA again postpones womens’ tour of Bangladesh [1680-8251].

 

Headline: Pink ball passes day-night tracking tests.

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 3 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1680-8246.

 

Up until the most recent day-night Sheffield Shield fixture between South Australia and New South Wales at Adelaide Oval, where the pink ball was used, bosses at New Zealand company Animation Research admitted they were having trouble tracking the controversial ball (PTG 1667-8169, 21 October 2015).  But after testing the program on the ground where the inaugural day-night Test match will be played, those fears have now been alleviated.

 

Animation Research chief Ian Taylor told ‘Cricinfo’: "We had a lot of concerns after doing testing down here [in Dunedin, New Zealand], but actually under the conditions that were there and the pitch that was laid it was really encouraging”.  The Shield fixture at Adelaide Oval presented the company with its first opportunity to test its tracking device with a pink ball under proper match conditions.

 

Previously, Animation Research's only testing had been carried out on a plastic pitch under lights in Dunedin where the ball was torn to shreds, and their hopes didn't increase when the pink pill met the same fate at Manuka Oval in Canberra during the match between an Australian Prime Minister's XI and the New Zealand tourists (PTG 1669-8178, 24 October 2015).  However, on an Adelaide pitch tailor-made for the pink ball (PTG 1678-8238, 2 November 2015), the results were far more encouraging for both the program and the ball itself.

 

Taylor said: "It was never just about the pink ball, it was about a whole combination of elements. The pitch was designed for the pink ball so that it maintained its colour much better.  It definitely worked - we'd had no trouble tracking a pink ball in our testing, but once it lost colour it was very difficult.  But on the pitch they'll be playing on in Adelaide it stayed pink ... It's a huge relief”.

 

Headline: ‘Not playing for a ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award’, says Warner.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jon Pierik.                          

Published: Tuesday, 3 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1680-8247.

 

Australian vice-captain David Warner has cheekily labelled New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum "Mr Nice Guy" and stopped just short of calling him a hypocrite as tension between the nations lifts ahead of this week's first Test.  Ahead of Thursday's opening to the three-Test series, Warner has taken umbrage with McCullum's comments during this year's Ashes series when he took aim through his newspaper column at Australian captain Steve Smith and Warner (PTG 1679-8241, 3 November 2015).

 

McCullum wrote that he believed Smith had acted against the spirit of the game when he opted to not withdraw an appeal against England’s Ben Stokes after he had blocked the stumps in an attempted run out by Mitch Starc (PTG 1639-8021, 7 September 2015).  Prior to that McCullum had called on Warner to "show more respect” after alleging he had not clapped Joe Root after the England batsman notched a century in the first Ashes Test. 

 

Warner remains clearly displeased with McCullum, who has introduced what effectively is a no-sledging policy within the Black Caps.  "I don't understand how a current cricket captain decides to play this brand of cricket on the field, which is Mr Nice Guys, then all of a sudden think he can comment on the way an Ashes series is panned out”, Warner said on Tuesday.  "For one, he has never played in an Ashes series, and two, he doesn't know what it's like to play in an Ashes series”.

 

The Australians had been surprised by the Black Caps' "no verbals" policy during their pool clash at the World Cup earlier this year, but responded in the final at the MCG by taking an aggressive stance against their rivals (PTG 1544-7422, 31 March 2015).  This resulted in batsmen Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott and veteran Daniel Vettori being given send-offs after they were dismissed, with now retired Australian gloveman Brad Haddin declaring they had "deserved it" because they had been overly nice to the Australians during the pool match .

 

McCullum was presented in September with a ‘Spirit of Cricket' award by the Marylebone Cricket Club for his fair captaincy during the Black Caps' mid-year series against England (PTG 11650-8072, 24 September 2015). The death of Australian player Phil Hughes in a game last year had prompted him to forge a new identity for his team.  Warner said the Australians would maintain their typical robust approach this summer.  "At the end of the day, you are not playing for the ‘Spirit of Cricket' award. You are playing for a series. For us, our goal is to win the series”, he said, and be “number one in all formats”.

 

Black Caps spearhead Trent Boult said on Tuesday his team would continue to adopt McCullum's mantra and would not be perturbed if Warner had a verbal crack.  "If he [Warner] does it personally to me, it's not really going to faze me. He can try as much as he likes”, he said.  "In terms of sledging, the Australians obviously are known for sledging. But, for us, I can't see us wasting too much energy and trying to get caught up in too much of that stuff”.

 

Headline: IPL has helped deal with sledging, claims Dhoni.

Article from:  Cricket World.

Journalist: Manuj Sharma.                          

Published: Tuesday, 3 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1680-8248.

 

Indian limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is of the view that the Indian Premier League (IPL) has helped reduce the amount of sledging that takes place in the game today.  The cash-rich IPL which is now slated to enter into its ninth edition, has become a platform for various international players to play under one umbrella.  

 

Dhoni, who is the captain of the now suspended Chennai Super Kings franchise in the IPL, stressed on the importance of winning games in the right way.  "We play a gentleman's game.  We want to win, but have to do it in the right way and IPL has taken the ugly sledging away from cricket.  Friendly banter is good and that's what these Twenty20 league has done”.

 

Observing that the IPL has brought cricketers closer, Dhoni felt that his relations with cricketers across the globe has improved because of the Twenty20 League.  The competition "has helped different players from different cultures come together and share the same dressing room.  It got me closer to many individuals, whom I might not have interacted with otherwise.

 

Hard-hitting Caribbean batsman, Chris Gayle, who was present with Dhoni at a promotional event also agreed with the view of the Indian captain.  Gayle also revealed that he loved having the little banters with his West Indian teammates in a friendly manner, especially Kieron Pollard.  "I agree with MS about IPL”, said Gayle, for “it has done wonders for the entire cricket fraternity".

 

Headline: Windies fined for slow ODI over-rate, captain suspended.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 3 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1680-8249.

 

The West Indies was found to be two overs short of the required over-rate in the first One Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday, and as a result its players were fined, but in addition their captain Jason Holder also received a one-match suspension as it was his second such offence in the last 12 months he also receives a one-match suspension for the next match

 

International Cricket Council regulations require players to be fined 10 per cent of their match fees for every over they have not bowled in the time allowed, which meant they lost 20 per cent of their fee and Holder 40 per cent.  Holder was found guilty of a “minor” over-rate offence in the fifth ODI against South Africa in January.  As he pleaded guilty to the latest offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for match referee David Boon to hold a formal hearing. 

 

Headline: New president continues BCCI shake-up.

Article from:  Cricket Country.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 3 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1680-8250.

 

Shashank Manohar, the new president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has asked Sundar Raman, the chief executive of the Indian Premier League (IPL), for his resignation and as a result he will leave the BCCI’s employ on Thursday.  Prior to taking up the presidency, Manohar criticised the board’s decision to retain Raman at the BCCI after the IPL spot-fixing and betting controversy of 2013.   Raman is still under investigation in connection with the IPL corruption scandal.  

 

Meanwhile, a number of media reports from the sub-continent are talking about Manohar taking over from Narayanaswami Srinivasan as the chairman of the International Cricket Council.  "The  common consensus among board members is to make Manohar the next ICC Chief and it will be confirmed at the [BCCI’s 2015 ] Annual General Meeting next Monday”, said an insider (PTG 1679-8243, 3 November 2015).

 

Headline: CSA again postpones womens’ tour of Bangladesh.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 3 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1680-8251.

 

South Africa women's tour of Bangladesh has been thrown into uncertainty again, with Cricket South Africa (CSA) postponing the series over "personal security concerns".   South Africa women were initially supposed to arrive in Dhaka in mid-October to play three One Day Internationals and five Twenty20 Internationals, but the tour was temporarily postponed due to the CSA's security fears following Australia's postponement of their men's team tour to Bangladesh for the same reasons (PTG 1657-8107, 6 October 2015). 

 

Under the new schedule the South Africans were supposed to arrive in Dhaka on Tuesday and play their matches over the next two weeks (PTG 1675-8224, 30 October 2015).  A CSA press release said the postponement was necessary as "South Africa will not be able to field a full squad".  "This is most unfortunate as a number of our players are unavailable to tour because of personal security concerns, work or the end of year study and exams at this time of year". 

 

Bangladesh Cricket Board chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said that the two boards were working on confirming the final fixtures. "We are expecting [CSA] to give us the new dates over the next four-five days".  "This is an issue for the CSA for the Zimbabwean mens' and womens’ teams and the Australian football team are coming to Bangladesh this month which shows that the security situation is good in this country”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,681

 Thursday, 5 November 2015

 

• Cricket could do with some humility and kindness [1681-8252].

• ICC shifts suspect action ‘grace period’ after rule mistake [1681-8253].

• Caricom report recommends major WICB revamp [1681-8254].

 

Headline: Cricket could do with some humility and kindness.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Mark Nicholas.                          

Published: Wednesday, 4 November.  

PTG listing: 1681-8252.

 

All around the world, international cricket is being played. West Indies in Sri Lanka; England in the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan, the South Africans in India, and now New Zealand take on Australia for the second time in a week, albeit in a different sport. Richie McCaw and his rugby world champions will take a lot of living up to. Both in the quality of their play, which experts suggest has never been bettered, and in the manner of their victory, which, though celebrated, was not exaggerated. 

 

Modesty appears to come more naturally to the rugby union fraternity than to any other. Perhaps it is to do with the extreme physicality of the sport and the respect that comes from understanding each other's courage.  Before the professional age, rugby players drank beer alongside their opponents with an almost ritualistic certainty. In those days, they probably stumbled into the motor and gave the lads who had come by bus a lift home too. 

 

Rugby big heads are few and far between. It is safer not to tempt fate. Neither is there much baiting or bullshit. Rugby folk are pretty straight and even the most commercial rarely preen their own feathers. I guess they don't dare, given you will soon enough find yourself at the bottom of a ruck with a gap-toothed 18-stone second-rower licking his lips at your misfortune. 

 

Years ago, the Australian fly-half Michael Lynagh, widely known as "Noddy", found himself exactly there against the Barbarians at Twickenham. The gargantuan South African, Flippie van der Merwe, grabbed him by the neck and said, "Noddy, what are you doing here? Silly boy, Noddy, don't ever let me catch you in here again", before lifting him to safety! Now that is respect for your fellow sportsman.

 

Sonny Bill Williams was quick to console Jesse Kriel after the All Blacks got up in the semi-final a fortnight ago, just as Grant Elliott went to Dale Steyn in the painful moments that followed South Africa's dramatic semi-final loss to New Zealand in cricket's World Cup last March. Perhaps most famously of all, Andrew Flintoff knelt alongside Brett Lee at Edgbaston, arm draped over his shoulder, after Australia had fallen just three runs short of victory in the second Test of the epic 2005 Ashes series. These images capture the imagination of the public every bit as much as the contest itself.

 

The age of chivalry may be long gone but a little humility still goes a long way. Contrary to the view of too many modern sportsmen, those who pay at the gate are not looking for blood. If one word could be buried from the speak and literature of the world in which we now live, it should be "sledging". What is there to like about sledging? (PTG  1671-8196, 26 October 2015).

 

Banter is a different thing, along with the understandable expletives that run side by side sport's emotional roller coaster. There is, for example, no problem with Shane Watson and Wahab Riaz getting stuck into one another as they did in the Adelaide quarter-final of the World Cup. In fact, it is very much a part of the show. Such dynamic head to heads are both thrilling and compelling. Batsman versus bowler is a dogfight and all the better for it. Much the same as those rucks that Flippie warned Noddy about. 

 

But the public doesn't want the ugly stuff, the bitching and baiting that so demeans the game. There is a great history out there and no one is in it for sledging. International captains have it in their gift to bestow this message to their players. Brendon McCullum has the mind to talk about this publicly, saying how the death of Phillip Hughes made New Zealand rethink their attitude to the game. 

 

"Most of it emanated from us being semi-embarrassed about the way we had played in the past. It has to be authentic and it may not last - you can't force it down people's throats - but this is the way I want this team to play and I know the senior guys have similar feelings on it”, said McCullum. Bravo!

 

Given the relatively new or inexperienced captains around - Hashim Amla, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Jason Holder, even Angelo Mathews to a degree - and the amount of dashing around the world at present, this might be the perfect time for the International Cricket Council to revisit the idea of a gathering of international captains once a year in Dubai to chew the fat. 

 

Obvious dates are late September or sometime in April, as the Indian Premier League gets underway. There must be so much they would all like to say to each other but never find the time, patience or mood to do. Representatives of both the ICC umpires and match referees could sit in for brief periods to air thoughts, and the main body of the ICC can have the platform to explain thinking and legislation face to face, allowing the captains a voice in response.

 

At the top table, a savvy chairman would be required to both inspire and mediate. Alongside him must be Dave Richardson, the ICC’s chief executive and a former South African wicketkeeper, who appreciates the complications of life across the white line. As for the first agenda? Well, let's see: the Umpire Decision Review System, catches claimed low to the ground, over rates and, wait for it, respect for one another and the game - surely the true meaning of the ‘Spirit of Cricket'.

 

Headline: ICC shifts suspect action ‘grace period’ after rule mistake.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 4 November.  

PTG listing: 1681-8253.

 

West Indies spinner Marlon Samuels, who was reported for a suspect bowling action over two weeks ago (PTG 1666-8165, 20 October 2015), was allowed to bowl in Wednesday’s second One Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka due to a International Cricket Council (ICC) administrative mistake.  The world body said in a statement that an exception had been made because "the West Indies team was incorrectly advised [Samuels] was eligible to bowl in this match", and that West Indies had "selected the team based on this information”.  

 

Reports suggest match referee David Boon had advised West Indies team management that Samuels could bowl and that they expressed concern, after being told when the match had got underway, that he could not.  The West Indies batted first in the game and it was during that period Boon, probably after receiving advice from ICC headquarters in Dubai, advised the visitors the ODI would be played inside the 21-day "grace period" afforded to reported bowlers.  

 

A rule change to ICC suspect bowling actions regulations earlier this year appears to have been behind the situation that arose.  Previously the grace period was 21 days, but a recent amendment shortened that to 14 days which meant Samuels could not bowl on Wednesday as he had been reported 16 days before yesterday’s ODI. 

 

The ICC statement went on to state though that following the game: "Samuels will not be allowed to bowl in international cricket until the results of his assessment are known”.  ‘Cricinfo’ is reporting that he has no plans to undergo a biomechanical test until the team travels to Australia for their series which begins early next month.

 

Meanwhile, Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal could face disciplinary action from the cricket authorities for comments he made this week on the ICC's policy on bowlers with suspect bowling actions.  A Pakistan Cricket Board official confirmed on Wednesday that the comments made by Ajmal on the Geo Super channel television talk show were being reviewed by the legal experts.  

 

Headline: Caricom report recommends major WICB revamp.

Article from:  Stabroek News.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 4 November.  

PTG listing: 1681-8254.

 

A report produced by a committee of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), an organisation made up of 15 Caribbean countries, has recommended that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) be disbanded and that an interim committee be installed to run the affairs of cricket in the region.  The investigation, by Caricom’s 'Cricket Governance Sub-committee’, which was set up last April, cites the "outdated mode" by which the affairs of the WICB are being conducted and calls for a new governance and management structure to be established.

 

The  WICB has come in for flak in recent years for its inability to halt the rapid decline in the state of the game, and the dismal international record of the West Indies cricket team.  Questions have also been raised about the financial credibility of the organisation.  Earlier this week news emerged that one of two Trinidad and Tobago directors on the WICB, Baldath Mahabir, had quit the board with immediate effect, highlighting what he called the "unprofessional" conduct of the WICB.

 

Legal opinion is divided regarding how much power Caricom can wield in seeing that the recommendations are implemented, but precedence has been set in other member countries of the International Cricket Council. The cricket boards of Pakistan and Sri Lanka were once disbanded by the political leaders of their countries, while action has also taken against the cricket boards of India and Bangladesh in a bid to improve the fortunes of the organisations.

 

WICB president David Cameron has promised that a “full response” to the report will be submitted to the chairman of the sub-committee, Grenadan prime minister Keith Mitchell.  Other members of his group are Gaston Browne and Ralph Gonsalves, the prime ministers of Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines respectively.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,682

 Saturday, 7 November 2015

 

• Cricket South Africa investigating 'potentially fraudulent' syndicate activity [1682-8255].

• WICB hoping to develop more women umpires [1682-8256].

• Third umpire’s alterness prevents mistake [1682-8257].

• Club relegated and hit with bans amid 'jostling and abuse' claims [1682-8258].

 

Headline: Cricket South Africa investigating 'potentially fraudulent' syndicate activity.

Article from:  Reuters.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 7 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1682-8255.

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) says it is investigating potentially fraudulent activities by an international syndicate attempting to corrupt the domestic game.  CSA’s anti-corruption and security unit is being supported by the International Cricket Council and South African police could also get involved but the cricket body says “as is the standard practice with the ICC, neither CSA nor the ICC will make any further comment in respect of ongoing investigations".

 

South Africa’s domestic T20 competition started last weekend and has attracted top names from the cricketing world, including the former England batsman Kevin Pietersen.  “This is a timely reminder that we can never drop our guard in protecting the integrity of the game at every level”, said CSA chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat.  “We have an effective partnership with the South African Cricketers’ Association to ensure that all our players, support staff and administrators are well educated about the nefarious activities of corrupt people and are aware of the consequences of falling victim to any shady approaches”.

 

CSA, as is the case with all the other international cricket boards, is a signatory to the "Keep Cricket Clean" vision of the ICC which envisages the provision of a co-ordinated and effective world-wide capability to protect all cricket played under its auspices.  Lorgat said CSA has the most up to date Anti-corruption Code which requires all players and support staff to report any approaches or any knowledge of corrupt activity.  The CSA’s attitude towards corruption would always be one of zero tolerance, he said, and “we will relentlessly pursue under our code and the law of the land any persons we believe to be involved in corrupting the game and, with assistance from the police, we will also seek criminal prosecution”.

 

Headline: WICB hoping to develop more women umpires.

Article from:  Jamaica Observer   .

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 6 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1682-8256.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) believes there is an important role for women to play in officiating in the regional game and plans to work towards developing more female umpires.  Jacqueline Williams, who will create history next Friday when she becomes the first female to umpire a first class game in the region (PTG 1678-8236, 2 November 2015), took part in an umpires workshop in Bridgetown, Barbados, earlier in the week and WICB cricket operations project officer, Rawl Lewis, says the Board was hoping to build on this foundation.

 

Lewis said Williams “has worked very hard over the last few months and the exposure she gained from working beside our international umpires Joel Wilson, Gregory Brathwaite, Peter Nero and Nigel Duguid has been very positive”.  “We want to develop more female umpires in the West Indies because we know there are females out there that are very much interested in the game and can be educated in this important role"

 

The Barbados workshop was conducted by international umpires instructor David Levens who covered topics such as laws of the game and match management techniques.  They also underwent medical testing.  Lewis said the workshop had been an essential one especially with the five month first class season starting next week.  “The sessions went very well. Officiating in any sport, much less this game is not an easy task, but we believe that we have equipped our match officials with the tools that would help them to be more effective on the field of play".

 

“Our franchises were busy preparing in the off-season and so were our officials, and this was a great opportunity for them to not only gain wider knowledge, but also to bond with each other, and build the same type of camaraderie and togetherness that players require to be successful on the field”.  He added: “The intention was also to create an environment that is inclusive of all, including umpires on the emerging panel, and to provide a professional and enjoyable experience for all participants, as we aim to improve this vital area in the development of the game”.

 

Headline: Third umpire’s alterness prevents mistake.

Article from:  India Now.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 7 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1682-8257.

 

Serious embarrassment was averted today due to the alertness of third umpire, Vineet Kulkarni when he realised that a wrong replay was shown on his TV screen as he tried to determiner whether to not Ravindra Jadeja had bowled a no-ball in the first Test between India and South Africa in Mohali.  The incident occurred in the 45th over of South Africa’s first innings, when AB de Villiers was caught by Virat Kohli at slip, off Jadeja. The South African began to walk off, reaching close to the edge of boundary, but paused there as the umpires wanted to make sure that Jadeja hadn’t bowled a no-ball. 

 

The replays weren’t clear enough as the view from various angles was partially blocked. Most replays suggested that his heel had either fallen on or missed the line by a tiny margin. But suddenly, one replay conclusively showed a part of his foot behind the line – it meant it clearly wasn’t a no ball. However, this was the replay of another ball bowled earlier by Jadeja. Fortunately, Kulkarni realised this and ruled it a no-ball, and de Villiers was asked to come back and bat on. Kulkarni’s watchfulness prevented a blunder. 

 

In 2011, MS Dhoni wasn’t so lucky in similar circumstances after the broadcaster made the same mistake. He was given out incorrectly off West Indian fast bowler Fidel Edwards in the second Test in Bridgetown. The broadcaster had served up the wrong replay, of a legitimate ball, after Edwards had bowled a no-ball! 

 

Headline: Club relegated and hit with bans amid 'jostling and abuse' claims.

Article from:  Midlands News .

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 6 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1682-8258.

 

A Birmingham League disciplinary appeals panel has banned Pelsall Cricket Club captain Dan Pennell for 12 matches and wicketkeeper Tom Chew for 13, and deducted 40 championship points after an opposition player was jostled and abusive language was allegedly directed towards an umpire the side’s final game of the season at Worcester in September.  The loss of points resulted in the team dropping into the bottom four of the league and means they have been relegated to a lower competition for the 2016 season. 

 

Pelsall took legal advice before successfully appealing against an initial league ruling that saw Pennell and Chew banned for 14 and 16 games respectively.  The panel also endorsed the club's appeal over a suspension of six league matches for fellow players Stephen Blews, Paul Grainger and Todd Henderson.  But the bid to have the 40-point penalty reduced was dismissed.

 

In a statement, Pelsall CC said: "We can confirm there was an incident on the last game of the season between ourselves and Worcester Cricket Club which has resulted in five of our players being suspended and the club being docked 40 points, which has relegated us back into the Staffordshire Club Championship.  As a club we are disappointed and saddened by the lengthy bans some of our players have received after what was a historical year for our club after reaching the semi-final of the National Village Cup for the first time in our history and avoiding relegation on our return back to the Birmingham League.

 

"Pelsall CC prides itself on being a family-friendly club which was evidently seen last year where record crowds attended the ground to watch our cup quarter-final and semi-finals not to mention our excellent Lashings day hosted back in August”.  The statement added that the club will be recruiting players for the 2016 season in a bid to win promotion.

 

A Birmingham League spokesman confirmed that league regulations do not allow participants in disciplinary hearings to comment about the issue.  Pelsall were in the headlines last season after their National Village Knockout clash with Welsh club Bronwydd was marred when a Welsh flag was burned (PTG 1610-7289, 4 August 2015).  But the club were cleared of any blame with fans from a nearby football match alleged to have carried out the act.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,683

Monday, 9 November 2015

 

• SCG first class match abandoned due to unfit playing surface [1683-8259].

• PCB approached by CA to play day-night Test in 2016-17 [1683-8260].

• First class debuts for two Caribbean umpires [1683-8261].

• Srinath, Dar for Bangladesh-Zimbabwe one-day series [1683-8262].

• Crunch time for BCCI administrative arrangements at 2015 AGM [1683-8263].

• PCB to lose $US85 million if it fails to host India [1683-8264].

• Unexpected ‘visitor’ stops first class match [1683-8265].

• Curator withdraws complaint against Shastri [1683-8266].

• Relegation, promotion cancelled due to ‘ineligible’ player [1683-8267].

• Two truckloads of willow clefts seized [1683-8268].

• Umpire on hand to ‘prevent cheating’ at sausage-throwing event [1683-8269].

 

Headline: SCG first class match abandoned due to unfit playing surface.

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1683-8259.

 

Match officials have been criticised by the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust (SCGT) for their decision to abandon the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Victoria on day three of the game on Sunday due to what they judged was an unsafe outfield.  Over 40 mm of rain fell in the Sydney area in the four days leading up to the match and a further 10-12 mm on each of the first two days, only 34.2 overs being bowled across Friday and Saturday, play being called off by umpires Simon Fry and Mike Graham-Smith on the latter evening after a number of Victorian fielders slid badly on different parts of the outfield.

 

The SCG surface has a sand base but after the heavy rain over the past week, water had not soaked in as quickly as ground staff would have hoped, and that left large patches of sand exposed around the centre wicket area.  Fry and Graham-Smith inspected the ground at noon on day three on Sunday and judged that a number of areas were unsafe and had not improved since the players were taken from the field on the Saturday afternoon.  Match referee Steve Bernard said the two umpires had "concluded that the areas [of concern] would not improve significantly over the remainder of the match and would continue to pose a risk to the fielding team”.  He emphasised that "Player safety is paramount and it is with this in mind that they have made the difficult decision to abandon the remainder of this match”.

 

Bernard admitted SCG ground staff could consider themselves “unlucky” at the amount of rain that fell in the lead up to the match, but he, Fry and Graham-Smith believed that groundsman would not have been able to retrieve the situation such that play could continue with an appropriate degree of safety on day four on Monday.  “The real concerns were areas close to the wicket, within 10-15 metres of the pitch and the stumps”, said Bernard.  "There were areas where the ground was moving … I went out and inspected the divots [two Victorian players made when fielding], which were a metre long.  “The last eight balls that were bowled [on Saturday saw], four guys lose their footing. Two of them where the umpires thought we’ve got a real issue here and there is a real chance they could get injured. Umpires took the step reluctantly”.

 

The SCGT criticised the decision to call off the fixture, head curator Tom Parker being quoted as indicating that in his assessment the outfield on day three was "in the best condition that it had been all match". "Given that there was no rain overnight [between days two and three] it was absolutely ready to host a match today”, he claimed.  A Trust spokesman is reported to have said: "Players and officials from both sides had described the pitch condition as fantastic” and it was “disappointed” about the decision to abandon the game.   Peter McMaugh, a past president of the International Turf Society who has consulted at grounds such as the SCG, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the WACA in Perth, was quoted by the SCGT as saying: "There is no reason in my professional opinion why they shouldn't have been playing today".

 

Victoria coach David Saker described the conditions on the Saturday evening as dangerous, saying" "In first-class cricket you expect conditions to be suitable for cricket, the [pitch is] fantastic but the outfield and surrounds are quite poor and dangerous”.  While Saker's team supported the abandonment, NSW took a different view, their side going out to the middle for centre-wicket practice after the abandonment was announced as if to make a point that the surface was fine.  The SCGT “supported” their decision to conduct a centre-wicket practice session.

 

However, in the lead-up to the match, NSW were only able to practice on the SCG once, on the outfield, because of problems with the surface.  Work was also being undertaken on the SCG practice nets area and that meant that all the team’s other training sessions were held at suburban grounds.

 

Bernard denied a suggestion that the determination that conditions were unsafe may have been influenced by Victoria’s reluctance.  “The captains probably weren’t on the same page … but it’s not a matter of what the captains thought here because our duty [as officials] to the game is to ensure it’s safe for the players”.  Fry was standing in his 76th first class match, the last before that being his Test debut, while Graham-Smith was on-field in his tenth after a lengthy playing and umpiring career.  Bernard himself is a former NSW first class player, having featured in 29 such games in the 1970s, worked at the Australian team manager, and as a first class match referee for the last two-and-a-half years.  

 

Cricket Australia (CA) and Cricket NSW are reported to be examining options to move the next Shield match, which is due to begin next Saturday, away from the SCG and another game may not be played there this year due to concerns over the state of the centre wicket area.  Just what that means for the new year Test between Australia and the West Indies is not clear.  CA head of cricket operations Sean Cary is said to be flying from Melbourne to Sydney today to get an update on the situation.  If it is deemed the match was abandoned because of rain, both sides will receive one point, but if the preparation is found to be  at fault, Victoria will be awarded six points.

 

Headline: PCB approached by CA to play day-night Test in 2016-17.

Article from:  The Express Tribune.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 7 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1683-8260.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has approached the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to have their national side play a day-night Test when they tour Australia during the 2016-17 austral summer.  PCB Chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed told ’The Express Tribune' a proposal for such a game has been received and that the matter has been placed before the PCB's cricket committee.  He said that the PCB is entirely in favour of trying out innovative ideas and new technologies, insisting that the day-night match with pink ball is one of them.  

 

A CA spokesman would not confirm nor deny any such development, saying: “We’re in the very early stages of working through our 2016-17 home schedule [and] at this point we aren’t in a position to comment on specific details”.   A year ago CA cricket operations manager Sean Cary was reported to have indicated CA was, in addition to liaising with New Zealand Cricket regarding a day-night Test, also "in talks with the West Indies Cricket Board” about playing a day-night Test in December 2015 (PTG 1461-7079, 17 November 2014), however, nothing came of those discussions.

 

Editor’s note: A ‘Cricinfo’ poll conducted over the weekend that asks "Is the pink-ball Test a good idea” attracted 60,944 ‘votes’.  Of those 24,305 or 40 per cent selected the "Yes, it will attract more spectators" box, the same per centre, or 24,391, votes being recorded for the "No. Test cricket needs the sun” option, while the remaining 20 per cent (12,248) went for the "Yes, but an ideal ball isn't ready yet”.

 

Headline: First class debuts for two Caribbean umpires.

Article from:  Various reports.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 7 November 2015 .  

PTG listing: 1683-8261.

 

Former Leeward Islands and West Indies all-rounder Carl Tuckett, is making his first class umpiring debut in the match between his ‘home side’ and Trinidad and Tobago which got underway on the island of St. Kitts on Friday.  Tuckett, 45, played 41 first class games for the Leewards from 1994-2005, and featured in a single One Day International for the West Indies in 1998.  Barbados-born Jonathan Blades, 40, is also debuting at the moment, his first game being the fixture between Barbados and Jamaica at Kensington Oval in Barbados.

 

Headline: Srinath, Dar for Bangladesh-Zimbabwe one-day series.

Article from:  ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Saturday, 7 November 2015 .  

PTG listing: 1683-8262.

 

Javagal Srinath of India and Aleem Dar of Pakistan have been named as the neutral officials for the three-match One Day International (ODI) series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.  Dar, who was withdrawn from the ODI series between India and South Africa last month because of security concerns (PTG 1669-8180, 24 October 2015), will take his ODI record to 178 games as a result of the series, just three behind former West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor who is third on the all-time ODI list.  Srinath’s ODI record as a match referee will at the same time move on to 171, and he will also pass the 50 mark as a Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) match referee when he stays on to manage the two T20Is the two sides will play after the ODIs have been completed.

 

Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza was fined 15 per cent of his match fee for  “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision” during the first match of the series in Mirpur on Saturday, a Level One offence.  After being given out caught behind, Raza delayed leaving the wicket, shaking his head and uttered "some words" that the International Cricket Council says were "contrary to the spirit of the game”.  The charge was levelled by on-field umpires Dar and Sharfuddoula, third umpire Enamul Haque, and fourth umpire Anisur Rahman.

 

Headline: Crunch time for BCCI administrative arrangements at 2015 AGM.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 8 November 2015 .  

PTG listing: 1683-8263.

 

Sweeping reforms to revive its battered image, including the appointment of an Ombudsman or Ethics Officer, and Narayanaswami Srinivasan's future as the chairman of the International Cricket Council, will dominate the agenda when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) holds its 85th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mumbai on Monday (PTG 1670-8192, 25 October 2015).  

 

With the soon-to-be-delivered recommendations over BCCI governance reforms by the Indian Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha Committee hanging over them, Board members are all set to clear the way for a shake-up of its Memorandum of Rules and Regulations announced by new president Shashank Manohar (PTG 1680-8250, 4 November 2015).

 

Headline: PCB to lose $US85 million if it fails to host India.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 7 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1683-8264.

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will lose revenues worth around $US85 million ($A120.7 m, £UK56.4 m) from its long-term broadcasting deal if it fails to host India for a full series over the next three to four years.  A PCB official confirmed that the board was already looking at a estimated loss of around $US70 million ($A99.4 m, £UK46.5 m) if India didn't play the planned series in the United Arab Emirates next month.  "The situation is such that if during the duration of the four-year broadcasting deal, which is worth $US145 million ($A205.8 m, £UK96.3 m), we don't host India at all then we lose nearly 65 per cent of the total amount which comes to around $US85 million”, said a PCB official.

 

Another reliable source confirmed that under the agreement with its official broadcaster, the PCB need to host one or two home series against India over the duration of the contract.  "If that doesn't happen there will be deductions in the total contract amount of $US145 million”.  At present the PCB appears to be financially secure as it is said to have cash around $US50 million [$A120.7 m, £UK71 m] in its kitty in different accounts besides some property and other assets in Lahore and Karachi.  

 

"We have survived inspite of not being able to host a full Test series at home since 2009 because of the share we get from the International Cricket Council from participating in its events”, the source said.  But he said at the moment another problem which the PCB was facing was to ensure that the much-hyped Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 project was not a financial burden on the board's assets.  "So far things have been difficult for the PSL secretariat because the expectations of big earnings from sale of braodcasting rights have not been realised and secondly a lot of money is being spent on maintaining the secretariat and the travel and costs of its employees”.

 

The source said the success of the PSL will depend on how much the board eventually sells its broadcasting rights for, and when the title and in stadia rights are bid for and sold, this coming week.  "The sale of rights for franchises will be held on Wednesday and Thursday week”, the source added.

 

Headline: Unexpected ‘visitor’ stops first class match.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 8 November 2015 .  

PTG listing: 1683-8265.

 

Bengal encountered an unlikely 'visitor' during their Ranji Trophy first class match against Vidarbha when a one-and-a-half metre long snake slithered onto the ground at the Jadavpur University in Kolkata on Saturday and halted proceedings briefly.  The incident happened in the pre-lunch session when Vidarbha seamer Swapnil Bandiwar was starting his run at the start of the second last over before lunch when the snake, believed to be a non-poisonous one, entered from the pavillion end.  

 

Ground staff were pressed into action and used sticks to chase the reptile from the ground.  This was clearly not a ploy by the home side to rattle the Vidarbha visitors because a snake was reportedly also later found in the Bengal dressing room toilet, but whether it was the same snake is not known. A Bengal cricket official said: “We put chemicals down to make it go away and are taking precautionary measures so that it is not spotted in the remaining days”.  

 

The match is being held at the Jadavpur University in Saltlake as Eden Gardens is closed for repairs. The area around the university was previously covered by dense jungle and was converted into the ground two years ago. 

 

Snakes have made sporadic appearances at cricket matches over the years (PTG 1018-4951, 15 November 2012, and PTG 402-2132, 4 April 2009), including on England's visit to Sri Lanka in November 2007.  During a tour game against the Board President's XI in Colombo, a cobra was seen just outside the boundary rope, sending the England fielders into a tizzy, but luckily the venomous visitor did not enter the field on that occasion.

 

Headline: Curator withdraws complaint against Shastri.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 8 November 2015 .  

PTG listing: 1683-8266.

 

Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) curator Sudhir Naik today withdrew his complaint against Indian Team Director Ravi Shastri as a truce was brokered by MCA Vice President Dilip Vengsarkar.  Naik had filed a complaint against Shastri that claimed Shastri abused him about the pitch he provided for the fifth and final One Day International at the Wankhede Stadium two weeks ago which saw South Africa score 438 (PTG 1677-8235, 1 November 2015).  Vengsarkar today heard from the two former India players during a meeting and advised them to bury the matter which he said in a statement “was a result of misunderstanding between the two former Mumbai players”.  “Both shook hands and Mr. Naik decided to withdraw the letter he wrote to [MCA]”.

 

Headline: Relegation, promotion cancelled due to ‘ineligible’ player.

Article from:  North Devon Journal.

Journalist: Mike Southon.                          

Published: Friday, 6 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1683-8267.

 

Braunton have been spared relegation from the Devon Cricket League (DCL) B Division after the team due to replace them, Uplyme and Lyme Regis, were found to have fielded an ineligible player in their promotion play-off.  As a result, neither Uplyme and Lyme Regis nor the team they beat, Plymouth Civil Service, will be promoted from the C Division.  Braunton had finished third from bottom in B Division after losing a final-day decider against relegation rivals South Devon.

 

Uplyme, who finished second in the DCL’s C East Division, beat West Division runners-up Plymouth, however, one of their team was ineligible to play.  The DCL said in a statement: "An investigation revealed that Uplyme player John Whetlor had not played for the club in 2014 or 2015, thereby making him ineligible to play.  To their credit, Plymouth Civil Service did not make an official complaint.  Although the executive management committee had originally, and mistakenly, given clearance for John Whetlor to play, it was forced to rule the match null and void, with both clubs playing in C Division next season. Furthermore, it was decided Braunton would not be relegated from B Division”.

 

Headline: Two truckloads of willow clefts seized.

Article from:  Kashmir Times.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 7 November 2015 .  

PTG listing: 1683-8268.

 

The Jammu and Kashmir Excise department today foiled a bid to smuggle 9,760 willow clefts to Punjab and detained two people driving the two trucks involved.  Clefts are the wooden blocks, a little larger that a finished cricket bat, that result from the basic cut of a willow tree into chunks from which a bat proper is honed to a finished product.  Their interstate transportation is banned under the state’s Forest Act.  Three months ago 4,500 clefts were seized (PTG 1621-7905, 18 August 2015), and in 2014 another 3,200. 

 

In September last year, flooding along the India-Pakistan border region of Kashmir killed more than 500 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses, and decimated large willow stockpiles that were waiting to be made into bats.  Some Kashmir willow suppliers forecast the loss of wood and damage to trees could equate to a shortfall of millions of cricket bats in the next few years (PTG 1452-7039, 22 October 2014).

 

Headline: Umpire on hand to ‘prevent cheating’ at sausage-throwing event.

Article from:  BBC Radio.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 8 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1683-8269.

 

An unnamed cricket umpire was appointed to adjudicated at the fifth annual Harwich sausage festival sausage-throwing competition held in Essex on Saturday "in order to prevent cheating”.  Richard Oxborrow, one of the festival organisers, said sausage-throwing was a serious business, this year’s champion winning with a throw of 45.7m, just short of the event’s all-time record of 45.9 m.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,684

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

 

• CA awards Shield points to Victoria, moves next NSW game from SCG [1684-8270].

• BCCI removes Srinivasan as ICC chairman [1684-8271].

• Australian bowler fined for ‘dangerous throw’ towards batsman [1684-8272].

• Windies' spinner again reported for a ’suspect action' [1684-8273].

• BCCI releases details of match officials' fees [1684-8274].

• Former first class umpire joins Central Districts’ board [1684-8275].

• Pink ball Test most important game of the year [1684-8276].

• ICC working on security plan for U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh [1684-8277].

• UK sports bodies’ in last-ditch effort to protect grass-roots funding [1684-8278].

 

Headline: CA awards Shield points to Victoria, moves next NSW game from SCG.

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1684-8270.

 

Victoria have been awarded six points for the rain-affected Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales (NSW) at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) which was abandoned on Sunday due to the condition of the playing surface (PTG 1683-8259, 9 November 2015).  NSW, which received no points, have also been forced to reschedule their next home Shield match, which was to start at the SCG next Saturday against Tasmania, to Bankstown Oval; a change which means the second day of a Sydney Cricket Association second grade game there will have to be moved to another ground. 

 

Section 7.2 of CA's Sheffield Shield Playing Conditions states: "In the event of a match being abandoned because of inadequate pitch and/or ground preparation, the match will be awarded to the visiting team”.  CA's Head of Cricket Operations Sean Cary, who flew to Sydney to look into the matter instead of travelling to New Zealand for cricket discussions there this week, said though it was not an easy decision to award the points to Victoria. 

 

Cary is quoted as saying: "I have looked into the matter here today and believe that we have no other option under [CA] Playing Conditions [but] to award the six points to Victoria". "It's an unfortunate outcome for [NSW] to lose points in this manner, and we acknowledge the disappointment the team is facing, however the decision the match officials made was not taken lightly. Abandoning a match is the last resort for any match official and was only done after due consideration for player safety”.

 

The SCG is due to host one further Shield match during the current season, that being against Queensland starting on 26 November, but Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones could not guarantee that it would not also be moved away.  The state’s other two home fixtures this season will be played in the new year in Coffs Harbour and New Zealand (PTG 

 

Jones told journalists on Monday he had been advised the SCG Trust, which administers the ground, intends to resurface the problem playing area. “The informal advice is that it looks like they are planning to do that as soon as possible”, said Jones.  Cary said CA "will have to make some checks on [the ground] between now and [the West Indies Test] and we are very hopeful they will get it right”. 

 

The problems being experienced at the SCG come five months after it was awarded exclusive rights to Australia's international matches in Sydney for the next seven years (PTG 1579-7598, 28 June 2015). 

 

Headline: BCCI removes Srinivasan as ICC chairman.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1684-8271.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has removed Narayanaswami Srinivasan as the chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The decision, which was taken at the BCCI’s 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mumbai on Monday, will see Shashank Manohar, the newly elected president of BCCI, complete Srinivasan’s term as chairman from now until June next year. The AGM also appointed former ICC president Sharad Pawar as the second nominee to attend ICC meetings in case Manohar was unavailable to attend meetings.

 

Headline: Australian bowler fined for ‘dangerous throw’ towards batsman.

Article from:  ICC press release and media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1684-8272.

 

Australian bowler Mitchell Starc has been fined half of his match fee for “throwing a ball at or near a player in an inappropriate and/or dangerous manner” as a result of an incident during the closing stages of the first Test against New Zealand in Brisbane on Monday.  Starc was bowling during the lengthy final-wicket partnership between New Zealand’s Mark Craig and Trent Boult, and after hitting consecutive boundaries Craig defended the next delivery back down the pitch, Starc picking up the ball and hurling it in the direction of the batsman.

 

Starc admitted the offence and accepted the proposed sanction which is around $A8,000 (£UK3,750) and as such there was no need for match referee Roshan Mahatma to convene a formal hearing.  Australian captain Steve Smith told journalists later that he plans to caution Starc over his conduct but he doesn’t think he needs to apologise to Craig, "just don't do it in the future".  "I don't think it was necessary ... there wasn't an opportunity for a run-out there.. he's done it a few times and I'm going to have a word to him”. 

 

Earlier this year Smith defended Starc’s throw at England batsman Ben Stokes which led to him being dismissed ‘Obstructing the Field’ (PTG 1639-8021, 7 September 2015).  Smith's failure to withdraw an appeal against Stokes led New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum to write in his newspaper column at the time that it was disappointing Smith had not withdrawn the appeal, it showed his “immaturity", and that “he may live to regret it” (PTG 1639-8021, 7 September 2015).

 

McCullum said after the Brisbane Test ended that he "hoped [Starc] was trying to aim at the stumps and if that's the case and it just slipped out, then so be it, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt there”.  McCullum added the Test was played "in really good spirits [and he’s] sure the rest of the series will be as well".

 

The charge against Starc was levelled by on-field umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, third umpire Sundarum Ravi, and fourth umpire Paul Wilson.  Under International Cricket Council disciplinary regulations, all Level Two breaches carry a minimum penalty of the imposition of a fine of between 50 and 100 per cent of a player's match fee, and/or up to two suspension points.

 

Headline: Windies' spinner again reported for a ’suspect action'.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1684-8273.

 

West Indies' spinner Sunil Narine has once again been reported for a suspect bowling action, this time following the third One-Day International (ODI) against hosts Sri Lanka in Pallekele on Saturday.  Narine’s action was first called into question during last year’s Champions League tournament and he was banned from playing in the final of that competition following a second such report (PTG 1440-6940, 3 October 2014) and he subsequently pulled out of the West Indies’ squad for this year's World Cup.  He was reported again during an Indian Premier League match last April (PTG 1552-7453, 27 April 2015).

 

Saturday's match officials’ report, which was handed over to the West Indies team management after the match, cited concerns about the legality of the 27-year-old’s deliveries.  His bowling action will now be scrutinised further under the International Cricket Council (ICC) process relating to suspected illegal bowling actions reported in Tests, ODIs and T20Is. He is required to undergo testing at an ICC accredited facility within the next 14 days.

 

Headline: BCCI releases details of match officials' fees.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1684-8274.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) provided details of new match fees for umpires and associated personnel who support its domestic and international games, plus a range of monetary benefits for retired officials, on its web site on Sunday. 

 

Umpires standing in BCCI domestic one-day and multi-day games will receive 20,000 Rupees per day ($A425, £UK200), match referees and and umpire coaches 15,000 Rupees ($A320, £UK150), video analysts 7,500 Rupees ($A160, £UK75) and assistant video analyst 3,000 Rupees ($A65, £UK30). For those involved in the BCCI’s domestic T20 Mushtaq Ali tournament, their fees are recommended as half the forgoing daily match payments.

 

Indian on-field and third umpires appointed to One Day Internationals (ODI) and Twenty20 Internationals will be paid 182,500 Rupees per day  ($A3,900, £UK1,820), and fourth umpires 40,000 Rupees ($A850, £UK400).  A third umpire in Tests will get 300,000 Rupees per day ($A6,400, £UK) and the fourth officials 100,000 Rupees ($A2,130, £UK1,000), while scorers in Tests are to be paid 10,000 Rupees a day ($A215, £UK100).

 

All retired Test umpires will get 22,500 Rupees ($A480, £UK225) a month and all retired All India Panel Umpires who have officiated in ODIs 15,000 per month ($A320, £UK150).  Widows of Test Umpires will continue to receive the same amount as their husbands for the duration of their life.  Umpires who have supervised 10 or more first class matches are eligible for reimbursement of medical expenses up to a maximum of 500,000 Rupees ($A10,660, £UK4,990) during their lifetime.

 

Headline: Former first class umpire joins Central Districts’ board.

Article from:  Manawatu Standard.

Journalist: Shaun Eade.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1684-8275.

 

Former New Zealand first class umpire Robert Anderson was one of four new members appointed to Central Districts board at the association’s annual meeting in New Plymouth on Sunday.  The Manawatu area of the Central Districts region has not had a representative on the board since Mark Cleaver and Dennis Radford stood down in June this year following Neil Hood's departure as the organisation's chief executive (PTG 1579-7,596, 28 June 2015). Anderson stood in 49 first class matches in New Zealand in the period from 1998-2007.

 

Headline: Pink ball Test most important game of the year.

Article from:  The Times.

Journalist: Richard Hobson .                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1684-8276.

 

The past month has been spent in press boxes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) watching cricket against a backdrop of empty stands at the other end of the grounds. Not sparsely filled, I mean literally empty – save perhaps for a steward on hand to throw back a ball that Misbah-ul-Haq or Younus Khan might have clouted off an England spinner. 

 

There are no official figures for the recently finished Test series between Pakistan and England. Nor were there three years ago when England last visited UAE. The truth would be embarrassing.  On the first day of the first Pakistan-England Test a man in a blazer gave what might be described as an official unofficial figure. “Less than two thousand,” was his estimate, which was certainly beyond argument. The final suggestion was around 1,800. I’d have guessed at half that. 

 

Perhaps there was a session at Dubai when the crowd neared 5,000. That was on the Friday, after prayers. Fridays are the one day of the week when expatriate workers in the UAE have time to watch. In general, attendances were pitiful, a dreadful advert for Test cricket. Things are only a little better in Mohali, where India are entertaining South Africa. Rows of empty seats, too, at Brisbane, where Australia played New Zealand, but ticket sales for the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide appear promising (PTG 1675-8219, 30 October 2015).

 

Just over a year ago, before he became the managing director of England Cricket, Andrew Strauss offered a stark warning about the future of Test cricket in an extra chapter for the paperback of his autobiography. His point was based broadly on the growth of Twenty20 leagues, and it seemed indisputable. 

 

Not all is bad, or even new. Head to YouTube and click on any footage of Test cricket in England from the last decades of the 20th century. Note the sometimes vast spare capacity in the stands, the empty spots on the uncomfortable wooden benches.   Ticket sales for the Edgbaston Test against Australia this year were double those for the same game in 1985, a winning series for England in a summer when Ian Botham established a record in six-hitting. 

 

Perhaps people were at home watching on terrestrial television, but the rivalry of the Ashes clearly endures, home and away. Can that be said of any other series? Not unless India and Pakistan resume bilateral ties, which is not happening any time soon. 

 

David Richardson, the International Cricket Council's chief executive, admitted his concern during a recent media briefing in Dubai. “There is a realisation that we need to create more context for Test series”, he said. “Apart from the Ashes and one or two others, they don’t have the relevance to people. We need to create it”. 

 

A bit rich, you might think, from an organisation that pulled out of plans for a World Test Championship, but Richardson went on: “There is no doubt that bigger and better efforts should be made to actually market Test series. In the past, member countries have been guilty of thinking that people will pitch up and watch. Now that is not the case, whereas domestic T20 leagues are marketed and a great deal of money is spent on those. Very little is spent on actually marketing Test series”.

 

The format needs a kick-start in much of the world. Richardson hopes the pink ball will do that. People may go out of novelty to the first day-night Test in Adelaide this month when Australia play New Zealand (PTG 1677-8233, 1 November 2015). Ultimately it will only succeed if the contest between bat and ball is even, if the concerns of players prove ill-founded. Cricket cannot afford a farce. That is why the Adelaide game is the most important fixture of the year (PTG 1677-8234, 1 November 2015). 

 

Headline: ICC working on security plan for U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Mohammad Isam.                          

Published: Sunday, 8 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1684-8277.

 

David Richardson, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), has said that the governing body has gathered enough information about the security situation in Bangladesh to put together a plan ahead of the Under-19 World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in that country next January-February. Richardson met Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka late last week, and she assured him "world-class security” would be provided for the event.

 

Richardson arrived in Dhaka last Wednesday with three others as part of the ICC's security assessment of Bangladesh (PTG 1669-8185, 24 October 2015). They met the High Commissioners of the UK and Australia, received a security presentation from the Bangladesh Cricket Board, visited the Cox's Bazar stadium, met intelligence agencies, and the country's Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal.

 

Richardson said on Saturday: "Bangladesh has a history of staging events, so we have every confidence that they have the ability, but this was all about trying to assess what the real threat is.  There are a lot of perceptions out there. We have to get to the bottom of things and understand what the threat is. From a global perspective, it has become a lot more challenging from a security point of view to put on global events. This is no different. Now we understand the threat and the kind of plan we would need to implement and put in place. It is now putting that plan together that we need to work on”.

 

The ICC assessment comes in the wake of Australia's postponement of their tour to Bangladesh last month (PTG 1657-8107, 6 October 2015), following a security advisory from their government and the killing of an Italian national in Dhaka's diplomatic zone. Since then Cricket South Africa have twice put off a visit by its women's team (PTG 1680-8251, 4 November 2015).

 

Headline: UK sports bodies’ in last-ditch effort to protect grass-roots funding.

Article from: UK Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Ben Rumsby.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1684-8278.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board, Football Association and Rugby Football Union have written to the Prime Minister as part of a last-ditch attempt to convince the UK Government not to take an axe to grassroots sports funding. The governing bodies of Britain’s three biggest sports all signed a joint letter to David Cameron urging him to act over planned cuts of up to 40 per cent in the budget of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which are expected to be imposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer this month. 

 

The Lawn Tennis Association, England Athletics, British Cycling and the Amateur Swimming Association were also among more than 20 national governing bodies (NGBs) to have endorsed the letter amid fears over the loss of much of the £100 million ($A213.8 M)  a year they are given to boost participation.  Seen by the 'Daily Telegraph', the letter marks the start of a two-and-a-half week campaign that will include lobbying of the Government by British sports stars past and present. 

 

The Sport and Recreation Alliance, the umbrella body for Britain’s sports NGBs, conducted a poll last month of more than 1,000 people, 75 per cent of who agreed grassroots sport should receive more funding from Government.  However, with Chancellor George Osborne close to finalising a comprehensive spending review that will be published in two weeks, the campaign may have come too late to make a difference. 

 

That could mean tens of millions of pounds being lost to sport just as sports minister Tracey Crouch is working on a new strategy to increase participation, having pledged this summer to “rip up” the existing one amid an ongoing decline since the Olympics. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,685

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

 

• Madugalle to pass 300 ODI match referee mark [1685-8279].

• ICC ‘still in discussions’ with Taufel over possible new role [1685-8280].

• Suspect action spinner being ’targeted’, claim home officials [1685-8281].

• Does cricket have a common sense problem? [1685-8282].

• Helmet-wearing umpire calls on ICC to have its officials wear a helmet [1685-8283].

• SCG fiasco forces review of facilities [1685-8284].

• Its the little things that are worth treasuring [1685-8285].

 

Headline: Madugalle to pass 300 ODI match referee mark.

Article from:  ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 11 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1685-8279.

 

Sri Lankan match referee Ranjan Madugalle will become the first person to officiate in 300 One Day Internationals (ODI) when he takes charge of the second of four games Pakistan and England are to play in the United Arab Emirates over the next ten days.  Madugalle, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief match referee, will oversee a series that will see Johan Cloete of South Africa and Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand sharing neutral on-field and television duties, Pakistan members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) filling the second on-field and four umpire spots in each game.

 

Madugalle, 56, a former Sri Lankan captain, looked after his first ODI 22 years ago, five years after a playing career that included 21 Tests and 63 ODIs with his national side in the period from 1979-89.  Eleven of the ODIs he played in were across the World Cups of 1979, 1983 and 1987, and he has since gone on to manage 56 such games in the World Cups of 1996, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015; his statistics including three World Cup finals.  He was named as the ICC’s first, and so far only chief match referee, in 2001.

 

Only three other match referees have to date passed the 200 ODI mark and only one besides Madugalle 250 (PTG 1481-7166, 12 December 2014).  Chris Broad of England is currently on 268 ODIs, Jeff Crowe of New Zealand 224, and another Sri Lankan, Roshan Mahatma, 222.

 

Following the ODIs, Pakistan and England are to play three Twenty20 Internationals, which will be umpired by Pakistan IUP members and overseen by Madugalle.  Those games will be the Sri Lankan’s  75th, 76th and 77th such matches.

 

Headline: ICC ‘still in discussions’ with Taufel over possible new role.

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 11 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1685-8280.

 

A month after news of his resignation became public, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is believed to still be in discussions with former international umpire Simon Taufel, who left his position as the ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager 10 days ago, about a possible "alternate role" for him with the world body (PTG 1663-8146, 16 October 2015).     

 

Taufel is currently in the United States working as a match official in a series of exhibition matches that are being fronted by former Indian and Australia players Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warner.  Taufel was on-field in the first game in New York last Saturday with ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Marais Erasmus, former EUP member Steve Davis being the third umpire, and the ICC’s chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle the referee for the game (PTG 1685-8279 above).

 

Headline: Suspect action spinner being ’targeted’, claim home officials.

Article from:  Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 10 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1685-8281.

 

West Indies’ and Trinidad and Tobago (TT) spinner Sunil Narine, who has been reported for a third time for having a suspect bowling action (PTG 1684-8273, 10 November 2015), is being targeted according to cricket officials in his home country. Former West Indies and TT off-spinner Rangy Nanan said that he would like the umpires to go into detail to explain what they are seeing when Narine is bowling: “I looked at his bowling action during recent matches and I am finding it difficult to understand why they are calling him. His action looked good and this is very surprising to me, so much so that I think he is being targeted". 

 

Philo Wallace, a former West Indies opener, echoed Nanan’s comments, saying: “I am probably blind because from what I have seen of this man, he is bowling well within the limits of what is allowed in terms of bending of the arm by the International Cricket Council. I have looked at him closely and I can tell you from my experience he is bowling legally". 

 

Narine’s manager at the Queen’s Park Cricket Club, Jeffrey Guillen said he has sent a message to the embattled off-spinner, giving his encouragement and the club’s commitment to continue supporting him throughout this difficult period. “I just cannot understand what is going on here but what I know is that this constant pressure on the player is going to do him no good. At this time all those around him needs to support him fully and hopefully he comes out still effective from this latest challenge”.

 

Headline: Does cricket have a common sense problem?

Article from:  cricket.com.au.

Journalist: Andrew Ramsey.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1685-8282.

 

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum insists umpire Nigel Llong’s decision to incorrectly give him out during the first Test against Australia on Monday didn’t change the outcome of a Test match.  His Australian counterpart Steve Smith admitted Llong's was a palpably wrong verdict but that New Zealand, which had used up its two Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) requests at the time, could have successfully redressed it had they been more judicious with their application of the review system.

 

But when a batsman is adjudged to have been caught at second slip after the ball has made no contact with the bat and instead looped off his leg – and that leg was not preventing the ball from hitting the stumps – then there is surely a case for wisdom, and technology, to prevail. 

 

.In a piece of typical understatement, McCullum noted that he was “playing okay” at the time, although a batting sheet that showed him 80 not out from as many balls faced might have more accurately suggested he was untroubled at worst, and utterly dominant at most times.  His century seemed an inevitability, then Llong made his error.

 

At the post-match media conference McCullum said: "It was frustrating because I was playing okay, and was pretty determined to see that we kept batting deep into the afternoon”.  But I’ve been around long enough to know that you have some go your way and some go against you as well.  Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth are two of the best umpires in world cricket, they are outstanding umpires who are allowed to make the occasional mistake. That’s just the game that we play and you have to cop it sweet”.

 

The magnanimity exhibited by McCullum might not be replicated when a similarly flawed decision, that the victim is unable to question because of the rules that currently surround the use of the UDRS technology, does unquestionably influence the outcome of a match.  Not one of those line-ball lbw calls that might or might not have been clipping the bails.  Nor one of those contentious catches behind amid a flurry of bat, body and bloke that is revealed to have kissed the elastic wrist band of a protective batting glove.

 

Rather it’s the glaringly wrong call such as the one that Llong would have realised and accepted the moment he saw the replay on the Gabba’s giant television screen that cricket’s adjudicators must surely be able to step in and overturn.  When there is no doubt, and from which all parties can benefit. In the interests of umpires and players who happily concede that mistakes are an occupational hazard, and fans who under the current system have the luxury of watching endless repeats of the error and become more and more indignant and disillusioned in the process.

 

If the current UDRS guidelines are themselves to be reviewed, it won’t be Australia’s captain who leads the charge.  Smith acknowledged that a mistake had been made, but from his position behind the wicket and given the way the incident appeared to the naked eye, he rightly believed – as did Llong – that it was a legitimate dismissal.  And he maintains the review system is just fine in its current incarnation.

 

"Obviously [McCullum] hasn’t hit that one, but I couldn’t notice that at the time”, Smith said at game’s end. "But [New Zealand] used up their two reviews and unfortunately didn’t have any left.  Two reviews is right.  You have 80 overs and then it re-sets.  The two they used it on were out.  They could have used them more effectively”.

 

And thus the status quo will remain, until such time as there is unilateral agreement that a blatant umpiring error has unambiguously altered the outcome of a match.  At which time there will be a mad scramble to tether a horse that has long since disappeared out the gates and down the straight.

 

Headline: Helmet-wearing umpire calls on ICC to have its officials wear a helmet.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Daniel Lane.                          

Published: Tuesday, 10 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1685-8283.

 

Karl Wentzel, known throughout Sydney's grade cricket competition as the "umpire who wears the helmet", said the pink ball and super bats designed to hit the ball hard - and far - should force the International Cricket Council (ICC) to address the need for umpires to wear protective gear in order to prevent a fatality.  Last year Hillel Oscar, an Israeli umpire, died when a ball ricocheted off the stumps and struck him in the head (PTG1472-7119, 1 December 2014). 

 

Wentzel lost five teeth in 2001 when a ball hit him in the mouth. He was knocked cold and required a series of operations that cost $A44,000 (£UK20,530).  "It was a freak accident”, Wentzel recalled of his incident. "I moved to the left but the bowler put his hand out and the ball deflected, hitting my mouth at full speed, knocking five teeth out.  

 

"The bats are so much stronger today, they're much heavier, and batsmen are hitting the ball heavier. You have less time to make a decision as to which way to move. You operate on instinct but you certainly feel so much more confident wearing a helmet”, said Wentzel.  "Had I been hit two inches to the left or the right I would've lost an eye. I would have been killed had I been hit on the temple. It was a freak accident and 14 years later everyone knows me as the umpire with the helmet”.

 

Wentzel said former West Indian player Chris Gayle told him how he looked forward to the day when all umpires followed his lead because the "master blaster" was terrified by the damage a ball he nailed could do to an umpire (PTG 932-4532, 26 April 2012). "I umpired a charity match for [singer] Guy Sebastian and Gayle said he was pleased to see me wearing it because he dreads the day when an umpire is hit straight on the head by a ball because it will kill him”, said Wentzel, who wore his helmet when he umpired at Lord's in June. 

 

Wentzel said he spoke to one of the umpires who officiated in the Sheffield Shield day-night match between NSW and South Australia at Adelaide (PTG 1669-8181, 24 October 2015), and was told how the official reacted to not being able to see the pink ball properly at square leg.  "He stood further back at square leg because it's difficult to see that ball when the light changes from natural to artificial”, he said.

 

"I tell umpires you get used to the helmet. You're looking at so many things as an umpire and suddenly this ball is coming at you. It might also be necessary to look at a [torso] guard [like a baseball umpire's] because we've seen many umpires get hit in the chest and stomach”.

 

Editor’s note:  Six years ago then Australian umpire Daryl Harper said "its just a matter of time before umpires in higher-level Twenty20 matches wear baseball helmets which cover the face with a grill for protection” (PTG 423-2233, 14 May 2009).  More recently a number of others have expressed similar views, amongst them being Simon Taufel, another former Australian umpire (PTG 1534-7384, 9 March 2015), and former Australian player Rod Marsh (PTG 1635-7999, 3 September 2015), while senior umpires in England are reportedly looking into such matters (PTG 1631-7965, 30 August 2015).

 

Three months ago Cricket Australia (CA) conducted a survey of umpires to obtain their views about the extent of their vulnerability to ball strikes and to understand the "optimum level of protective gear" they believe they should wear (PTG 1613-7840, 7 August 2015).  As yet, two months into CA’s current season, no details of just what, if anything, CA concluded from responses provide has been made public.    There was a hint at the time though that CA may have been compiling information as part of a world-wide analysis being conducted by the ICC.

 

Headline: SCG fiasco forces review of facilities.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Daniel Brettig .                          

Published: Tuesday, 10 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1685-8284.

 

Embarrassment caused by the abandonment of the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Victoria at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) (PTG 1683-8259, 9 November 2015), has forced a review of the ground's transition from football to cricket season and a commitment by Cricket NSW (CNSW), the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sports Trust (SCGT) to work more closely together in future.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) will also be involved in the review, which will look into the factors that contributed to the ground's surface being deemed unfit for play last Sunday. Issues such as scheduling, climate and the technology available to the head curator Tom Parker and his ground staff will all be explored, as the ground seeks to meet the world's best practice standards after the fiasco seen at the weekend. 

 

Emergency talks between the Trust and CNSW have resulted in several other measures designed to prevent a repeat, including a revised field of play inspection protocol in the lead-up to any men's or women's first-class or international fixture; an updated post-match review process and the formation of a joint working party to manage the NSW team's training needs, with the ultimate goal of producing a new practice facilities plan.

 

All these moves have been discussed and argued over in the past, but the loss of outright points for the NSW state team on their home ground and damaging headlines across the country have brought them to a head (PTG 1684-8270, 20 November 2015). In this, the abandoned Shield match may be seen as a catalyst for change.

 

CNSW chairman John Warn said his organisation "has a long and proud tradition at the [SCG], one of the most iconic cricket grounds in the world”. “[CNSW] is keen to enhance that tradition by working closely with the SCG Trust to ensure that the playing surface and training facilities are of world-class standard".

 

"It was disappointing that the recent Sheffield Shield match against Victoria had to be abandoned after match officials ruled the playing surface unsafe, forcing the following Shield game beginning on Saturday against Tasmania to be relocated to Bankstown. Cricket NSW and the SCG Trust have had positive discussions about how to achieve and maintain the high standards required for first-class and international cricket”.

 

Tony Shepherd, the chairman of the SCG Trust, acknowledged that "without cricket, there is no Sydney Cricket Ground". “[CNSW’s] commitment to excellence can be seen in the vast numbers of Australian players produced and the record 46 Sheffield Shield wins”, he said. "They expect that same standard of excellence at their home ground and the Trust will work closely with Cricket NSW to ensure that this is the case."

 

The SCG surface is expected to have improved sufficiently such that it can host the next first-class fixture scheduled there, which is between NSW and Queensland, at the end of this month.

 

Headline: Its the little things that are worth treasuring.

Article from:  The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Tuesday, 10 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1685-8285.

 

It’s only five weeks since Shashank Manohar began his second term as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)(PTG 1656-8101, 5 October 2015); his Wikipedia entry has already been updated to reflect his succeeding former ally Narayanaswami Srinivasan as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and actually does a pretty good job of chronicling how he got there (PTG 1684-8271, 10 November 2015).

 

The guts of it is that Srinivasan was simply too shameless. He failed to grasp the game changing nature of the Indian Supreme Court’s Mudgal and Lodha Commissions into Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption issues.  Had he stood aside immediately on the allegations of IPL corruption and made a show of compliance with acceptable standards of corporate governance, he might have stood a chance.

 

His strategy instead was to court popularity by leading the 'Big 3' shakedown of the ICC, thus securing significant additional funds for the BCCI (PTG 1333-6435, 14 April 2014). After all, it had worked before. But the old trick had lost its magic. My word they must hate him. Or fear him. Or both.

 

As foreshadowed last week (PTG 1679-8243, 3 November 2015), Srinivasan’s departure leaves not one participant in the 'Big 3' takeover where they were eighteen months ago. Cricket Australia’s (CA) Wally Edwards has retired, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Giles Clarke has been sidelined.  

 

Even the secretariat of the relevant ICC working group has gone.  Dean Kino, CA’s former general manager of legal and business affairs, left the group just over a year ago and IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman got the boot last week (PTG 1680-8250, 4 November 2015).

 

For good measure another member of the ICC’s executive committee, West Indies Dave Cameron, is on notice too (PTG 1681-8254, 5 November 2015). "Uncertain times at the ICC" is a tautology, of course. But its offices in Dubai would benefit from a revolving door.

 

For the moment, however, the attention is on the BCCI, which is the de facto seat of world cricket governance anyway. Manohar has had a hell of a month. His determination to curb the conflicts of interest that flourished thanks to Srinivasan’s egregious example is bound to encounter resistance, but so far he has not taken a backward step (PTG 1625-7934, 22 August 2015). And A. P. Shah, the BCCI’s new ombudsman (PTG 1683-8263, 9 November 2015), a former chief justice of the Madras and Delhi High Courts, has some serious legal clout.

 

Manohar’s commitment to transparency is reiterated in his introduction to the 2014-15 annual report which is now, amazing to say, actually on the BCCI website: ‘The BCCI needs to improve its efficiency and transparency in governance and a great deal of accountability is required from the members as to how the BCCI funds are used”.

 

Where subsequent steps in this direction might lead is anyone’s guess, and not all of what emerges may be welcome. While Lalit Modi is hardly a reliable narrator, he pulled no punches about the distribution of wealth within the BCCI in a July interview with Open’s James Astill saying: ‘You look at the BCCI accounts and they will be clean. You go one step below, that’s where lies the truth. You go to the second level, the state associations, these mom-and-pop shops there. There are three or four that are completely clean. But the rest are completely off the scale. That’s where you find the siphoning off. I’m talking about [billions of Rupees] a year, because the BCCI passes on everything in subsidy to these associations”. Can of worms anyone?

 

That, of course, will take time to play out. In the meantime, it’s the little things that are worth cherishing...

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,686

Thursday, 12 November 2015

 

• SCG points penalty harsh, says NSW captain [1686-8286].

• Tasmania penalised for slow over-rate [1686-8287].

• Batsman returns despite second 'run out' attempt [1686-8288].

• Key West Indies players choose BBL over Tests [1686-8289].

• Money makes the cricket world go around - yet again [1686-8289].

• CSA comes under fire from black players [1686-8290].

• ‘Grass roots’ a focus for new CA chairman [1686-8291].

• The slow withering of English club cricket [1686-8292].

 

Headline: SCG points penalty harsh, says NSW captain.

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 12 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1686-8286.

 

New South Wales captain Moises Henriques says it’s harsh for his side to lose six points to Victoria in last weekend’s abandoned Sheffield Shield game at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).  The match was called off on day three last Sunday after just 34.2 overs of play, when match referee Steve Bernard and umpires Simon Fry and Mike Graham-Smith deemed conditions unsafe around the infield and wicket, the second abandonment  in a first class game in Sydney in a week (PTG 1683-8259, 9 November 2015).

 

Henriques said yesterday of the ground’s condition last weekend: “It wasn’t ideal and it wasn’t horrible.  I personally thought there could still have been a game of cricket played, but the umpires and the match referee didn’t deem it so and that’s their job to do so”.  The captain felt the Cricket Australia regulation which led to Victoria being awarded maximum points wasn’t meant for the circumstances that eventuated at the SCG (PTG 1684-8270, 10 November 2015).  

 

“I’d imagine that rule was created for games later on in the season”, said Henriques.  “Maybe the home team purposely didn’t bring up the wicket so that the team coming over who might have been behind on the ladder couldn’t score points there, or something like that.  I think the penalty might be a bit harsh at this time, the second game of the season.  But I guess there has to be a line in the sand and the rules were there before the game, so you’ve got to adhere to those".

 

“I guess it’s a kick into gear for the home association to make sure the ground is up to scratch and to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure if there is rain, or whatever it might be, that the ground is still in good shape.   So it just shows that if you just get a bit complacent it can come back and bite you on the bum”.

 

Asked about what he expected from Bankstown Oval where NSW’s next Shield game has been moved to, which has former Adelaide Oval curator Les Burdett overseeing its preparation for this weekend (PTG 1666-8166, 20 October 2015), Henriques said: “Over the last couple of years it’s basically been quite a slow sort of flat wicket, so I’d be surprised if it was anything different”.

 

Headline: Tasmania penalised for slow over-rate.

Article from:  CA web site.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 12 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1686-8287.

 

Tasmania have been penalised two Sheffield Shield points and skipper George Bailey handed a strike for maintaining a slow over-rate in their round two loss to Queensland in Hobart earlier this week.  Cricket Australia (CA) found the Tasmanians to be two overs behind the required over-rate at the conclusion of the match.  Under CA regulations for every over a team is deemed to be behind the required target, after time allowances are taken into consideration, the offending team will lose one Shield point. 

 

Tasmania, who had registered two bonus points in their first two matches, now sit at the bottom of the Shield table winless and without a point.  Bailey receives a strike for being in charge, and if he earns another in this season he will be suspended for one match.  The news comes after the Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground between NSW and Victoria was abandoned due to unsafe conditions (PTG 1686-8286 above).

 

Headline: Batsman returns despite second 'run out' attempt.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Mohammad Isam.                          

Published: Wednesday, 11 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1686-8288.

 

Zimbabwe celebrated the apparent ‘run out' of Bangladesh batsman Mahmudullah in the third One Day International in Mirpur on Wednesday, only to realise wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva had already broken the stumps before the direct throw made contact.  Aleem Dar, the square leg umpire, appeared to raise his finger, which led the batsman to head for the dressing room, but realising his mistake Chakabva asked for the ball, picked up a stump and, with the ball in hand, made sure the run-out was completed on the second attempt. 

 

However, Dar wanted to be doubly sure and went to third umpire Enamul Haque, who after a hard and long look, negated Dar’s apparent decision, the batsman leaving his crease because he believed he was out.  Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura appeared to protest the reversal and summoned his team into a huddle with Dar and his colleague Sharfuddoula, batsmen Mahmudullah  and his batting partner Mashrafe Mortaza standing nearby waiting for play to resume.  

 

After some discussion the Zimbabweans went back to their positions and the match went on.  When asked at a post match press conference what was going on and if he was about to lead the team out of the ground, Chigumbura said: "We were discussing tactics for the last few overs of the innings".  Mortaza was seen speaking to Chigumbura twice, and he later said that he was trying to convince his opposite number to play on, which he thought was the right thing to do. 

 

Headline: Key West Indies players choose BBL over Tests.

Article from:  Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Ben Horne.                          

Published: Thursday, 12 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1686-8289.

 

The West Indies, cricket’s most dysfunctional outfit have again refused to pick their best squad for the upcoming tour of Australia, but this time the farcical situation will be made all the more obvious by the fact the likes of Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy will all be strutting their stuff around the country in Cricket Australia's (CA) Big Bash League (BBL) at exactly the same time.  In unprecedented scenes, the domestic BBL is set to swamp the co-existing Test series for interest and star power, and the Windies are largely to blame.

 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for CA, with the BBL booming, but it’s a crushing blow for the credibility of Test cricket that the Australian side will play three matches against a second-rate side.  The BBL’s Melbourne Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry described his players Gayle and Bravo as “two of the best talents on the globe” and says ticket sales and memberships are already climbing rapidly.  “I think people just want to see the best players playing and the BBL offers that”, said Coventry.

 

Headline: Money makes the cricket world go around - yet again.

Article from:  Caribbean media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 12 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1686-8290.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has announced that the prize money pool for its Professional Cricket League ‘domestic first class series of 2015-16 has received a significant boost, jumping from just over $US30,000 to more than $US120,000 ($A42,500-170,000, £UK19,700-78,900).  In addition to the usual Player-of-the-Match and season-ending awards, teams in each round will now receive $US3,000 ($A4,250, £UK1,970) for each outright victory under the new pay structure for the Tournament.

 

WICB chief executive officer Michael Muirhead, said: “We are sure that the increase in prize money will encourage the players to play more purposefully and we hope will really help to build the competitive environment in the tournament”. “We ultimately want as many players as possible fighting for the eleven starting spots in the West Indies Test team, and the WICB is committed to doing all that we can to encourage robust performances from our players and we believe this new cash prize incentive is one way to achieve this”.

 

Under the new incentives, the champion team at the end of the series will received the ‘Headley'Weekes Trophy’ and $US15,000 ($A21,250, £UK9,860), while $US1,500 ($A2,125, £UK986) will go to the scorer of the most runs (the 'Vivian Richards Award’), the taker of the most wickets (the 'Courtney Walsh Award, most dismissals ('Deryck Murray Award’), most catches ('Clive Lloyd Award’), and top all-rounder ('Malcolm Marshall Memorial Award’), while the most promising fast bowler ('Andy Roberts Award’) will get $US1,000 ($A1,420, £UK660).  Each match will see the person judged to be the player of that game receive $US150 ($A210, £UK100) and the match winning team $US3,000 ($A4,250, £UK1,980)

 

Headline: CSA comes under fire from black players.

Article from:  The South African.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 11 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1686-8291.

 

Another day, another transformation saga in South African sport. This time, it’s Cricket South Africa (CSA) that’s under scrutiny. A group of black cricketers, identified only as “Black Cricketers in Unity”, sent a letter to CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat last week detailing their disappointment at how they are being used, especially when it comes to national sides.

 

The players say that their intention was never for the letter to go public, they simply wanted to express their disappointment and start a discussion.  In the letter it states black players are “sick and tired” of being picked for national squads, but then failing to get into the starting XI. “If we’re not ready for international cricket, stop picking us”, reads the letter.

 

Allegedly, the straw that broke the camel’s back was a recent selection decision during South Africa’s current tour of India. When JP Duminy was ruled out with injury, Dean Elgar was flown in as cover, despite the fact that Khaya Zondo was already in the side. The reasoning for Elgar being brought in as cover is that he does offer a part-time spin option, just like Duminy.

 

The letter also raises the point of Aaron Phangiso not getting a single game during the World Cup earlier this year. Players also say that Lonwabo Tsotsobe has been forgotten. Thami Tsolekile’s treatment is also mentioned.

 

Headline: ‘Grass roots’ a focus for new CA chairman.

Article from:  Edited CA web site story.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1686-8292.

 

New Cricket Australia (CA) chairman David Peever says in an interview for CA’s web site that his organisation has achieved "a lot of things, including getting more fans to the game, winning at the elite level, working very well across the country as one team, and bringing investment into the game”.  However, when he thinks of the task ahead, he says "perhaps the first matter that comes to my mind because of my background [as a Brisbane grade player] is the grassroots level, as it has played a central place in my life and in the communities that I have lived in”.  Peever wants "to make sure that we continue to build on that”.

 

Peever, 58, (PTG 1678-8240, 2 November 2015), told journalist Adam Ramsey that "Australian cricket’s success for the period through which we are travelling now won’t be judged at the end of this season, or next”.  Rather, "It will be judged in 10 or 20 or more years when the jury of that era assesses whether cricket is still a fundamental part of the Australian way of life or whether it is a minor, exotic boutique sport played by a small clique of devotees fondly remembering the game’s former glories”.

 

He thinks "this inter-generationally and participation needs to reflect Australian society and that’s why it’s so important for us to have women, to have Indigenous Australians, to have members of our diverse multicultural communities, playing the game.  For example, 28 per cent – or around 6.6 million - of the people in this country weren’t born here.  This year’s World Cup matches featuring India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan showed us the outstanding excitement and good humour that our south Asian communities bring to the game".  

 

Peeved believes: "One of our tasks is to help them continue to feel at home within Australian cricket, whether as fans or as players at their local schools and clubs.  It would be great if their sons and daughters were to grow up to become cricketers and cricket fans, and maybe even Australian cricketers.  So we need to continue to capture the multiculturalism of Australian society and how wonderful it is to see [Australian Test batsman] Usman Khawaja [who was born in Pakistan] out there playing and enjoying it so much”.

 

In addition to the national scene, Peever is acutely aware of the political intricacies and the vital implications of the game at the elite level, and of Australia’s enhanced governance role as one of the so-called ‘Big Three’ of cricket as a global on and off-field leader (PTG 1346-6505, 5 May 2014).  As CA chairman he will be heavily involved in regular meetings of the International Cricket Council (ICC) which – rather like its Australian counterpart with its new structure of independent directors – underwent a significant revamp during Edwards’ stewardship.  

 

"It’s not perfect," Peever concedes when asked about the health of the game at international level throughout the cricket world.  "It’s very complex but having said that I’m very supportive of the direction that’s been taken, and the [CA] board is supportive in trying to make sure that the money being generated is going to the development of the game around the world".

 

"There’s been a lot of money wasted over the years, and if you get something for nothing you probably don’t care too much about where and how you spend it.  However, if the money is given out with the stipulation 'this is where it should be spent and these are the objectives you have to meet with your elite teams and with the development of the game’, then you have more influence over game’s direction”.  “It’s getting the right financial incentives in place to drive the game and make sure the game continues to get supported financially.  It’s not only off the field that game is evolving.  

 

Peever is supportive of the push to have cricket included in the summer Olympics as the pre-eminent vehicle to drive awareness of and participation in the game beyond the historic boundaries of empire.

 

Headline: The slow withering of English club cricket.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Scott Oliver .                          

Published: Monday, 9 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1686-8293.

 

Gloves, bat and helmet snatched from the dressing room, your spikes would pitter-patter past a full-sized snooker table, through a door and down the shallow steps of a viewing gallery with three long rows of leather-backed seats, then a left turn to the top of a grand, wide old staircase that folded back on itself before disgorging the batsman onto a ballroom floor, which you crossed on a rubber mat before another door threw you down a dozen or so concrete steps, flanked by rows of wooden-slatted concrete benches, then finally into the arena. 

 

This was the Great Chell Cricket Club, nestled in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, the Lord's of the Potteries, its opulence incongruous with the surroundings. Once upon a time, such a walk would end with the batsman facing Wes Hall or Roy Gilchrist. I only made it once - the result, a 42-ball duck in a 48-run opening stand. The club folded the following year. The ground is now a school. 

 

Great Chell were one of the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League's 12 founder members in 1963, and of the four Potteries teams, two more have gone the same way. Sneyd, alma mater of former England batsman David Steele, lay in the shadow of a grassed-over slag heap and disappeared not long after Chell, while Norton - in the early 1960s, the club of Frank Worrell, Garry Sobers and Jim Laker - last year merged with a smaller club on the city's periphery. 

 

The slow obsolescence of inner-city clubs is a depressingly common tale up and down the land, the way of things, it seems - history blindly beavering away (PTG 1636-8010, 4 September 2015). Those familiar causes include: proliferating leisure options for kids, which affects participation numbers; cricket's high "barrier to entry", particularly after seven years of austerity economics; and a waning volunteer culture in a society that grows increasingly self-centred and atomised. 

 

In addition, there are top-down political decisions regarding school curricula and playing fields, as well as administrative decisions by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), particularly the lack of free-to-air TV coverage and, consequently, the game's ever weaker roots in the public imagination. The net result is a slow withering of cricket in clubs and state schools alike (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014). It has become remote and elitist. 

 

One often reads how, under the stewardship of Giles Clarke, the ECB's revenues increased and the team rose to number one in the world. The causal relation between these is to be demonstrated. Clarke's gambit - conditioned by the trickle-down ideology, which the former Somerset chairman subsequently applied to the world game with the 'Big Three' carve-up - is that a successful England team would equal a thriving recreational culture, simply through the identification with success. There's one major problem with this: how can people identify if they cannot see? 

 

Of course, the ECB cannot be held responsible for the fate of Great Chell, yet might it not be the case that the drive to improve recreational cricket - starting with the Raising the Standard review that created the Premier Leagues - has also had unforeseen negative effects? Sure, pitches and facilities have got better at the top of the pyramid, and coaching structures have become more cohesive. However, with most bureaucratic structures the tendency is for ever more facets of the culture being administered to be subjected to time-consuming box-ticking, sucked into a one-size-fits-all logic, and English recreational cricket has been no different. 

 

The quest for ECB ‘Clubmark' accreditation has overstretched many clubs, particularly regarding the provision of junior cricket - an admirable enough aim in the abstract, of course, yet not always possible to sustain under the conditions outlined above. Clubs far from the inner cities are feeling the pinch. With fewer kids playing the sport, and the competition to attract them becoming ever more intense, particularly if there are several other more established clubs nearby, perfectly healthy clubs can find themselves punished. 

 

Thus, a club in the lower echelons of the North Staffordshire League - a club with good facilities that has never played in the Premier League and probably only has a vague ambition to do so - was recently demoted for not fielding the required number of junior teams across the various age groups (PTG 1655-8099, 3 October 2015). It's not hard to imagine how this penalty (and glass ceiling) might disillusion the hardcore of senior players, leading to an exodus among those keen to play at a standard commensurate with their abilities, and, ultimately, to the dissolution of the club: an abandoned rural cricket ground to match those in the city. 

 

Norton Cricket Club, meanwhile, were forced into a merger because they were unable to field a second team, which under league rules disbars them from participating. Yet with a little more flexibility both these clubs could be encouraged to keep going within the current limits of their resources - Norton by allowing clubs with one team to continue (which would mean a straight ladder of all first, second, third and fourth XIs rather than parallel A and B sections); Oulton by limiting the junior-team criteria to the Premier League alone. They could have hunkered down and recuperated. 

 

The cultivation of the grass roots needs to tread a fine line between disincentivising complacency at failing clubs and overbearing bureaucratism that strangles others, setting them unrealistic targets.

 

Of course, you could argue that it's all a matter of "natural selection": if the ecosystem cannot support so many clubs, then there will be inevitable extinctions. But the evolutionary parallel doesn't really stand up, not least because in cricket's ecosystem clubs are forever going outside themselves - with sugar daddies injecting money into clubs, inducing youngsters to bulk out junior sections with offers of free kit, or older players with payments - whereas an animal has to survive on its native wit and resources. You cannot buy your way to becoming an apex predator. 

 

Given ECB Clubmark's express focus on "knowing your club and its community", there's a certain bitter irony in the fact that the Potteries' now-defunct grounds lie in areas with the largest concentration of first- and second-generation Asian immigrants, those in whom the cricketing flame burns brightest, many of whom can be found all nights of the week using the artificial nets in nearby public parks (PTG 1589-7671, 10 July 2015). It is perverse to have grounds lying idle on their doorsteps, in danger of becoming supermarket car parks. 

 

Surely there is, with vision and a bit of give and take, an opportunity for real community engagement in the resuscitation of the dormant grounds, allowing the simple pleasure of playing cricket and devoting yourself to a club - one with an imagination-stirring entrance to the arena, perhaps - melt away some of the "otherness" on which those opposed to multiculturalism and integration feed. If there's any better use for cricket than this, then I am yet to see it.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,687

Saturday, 14 November 2015

 

• PCB keen on CA day-night Test offer [1687-8293].

• Former Aussie player gives insight into his approach to ‘banter' [1687-8294].

• England players cleared to prioritise IPL over Tests [1687-8295].

• WICB fines three for Level One offences [1687-8296].

• Glass in top soil contaminates grounds [1687-8297].

• New Perth stadium pitch under development [1687-8298].

• Scandals must prompt cricket to reform [1687-8299].

• BCCI’s sleight of hand keeps the rabbit in the hat [1687-8300].

 

Headline: PCB keen on CA day-night Test offer.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Umar Farooq.                          

Published: Friday, 13 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1687-8293.

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is interested in Cricket Australia’s (CA) offer to play a day-night Test when the two teams take on each other in December 2016, but they want to consult all the players who may be involved before saying yes.  The PCB’s cricket committee is planning to prepare a detailed report on playing with the pink ball in Australia next summer (PTG 1683-8260, 9 November 2015).

 

Shakeel Sheikh, the PCB cricket committee chairman, told ‘Cricinfo’: “We have been advised by the PCB chairman to take up the offer by [CA]”.  “There has been detailed research on pink ball and we have sought the copy to discuss every point about it. Some players including Misbahul Haq have raised their concerns and we would want to take them on board to record their points as well”.

 

CA has also sent out an invitation to their Pakistan counterparts to attend the day-night Test in Adelaide between Australia and New Zealand late this month. But invitation wasn’t accepted as the PCB official is due to an Asian Cricket Council meeting during the same period. There is, however, a proposal to send Zakir Khan, a member of the cricket committee, who will already be in Australia as manager of the Pakistan Under-16 team.

 

The PCB is also going to purchase a bulk of the improvised version of the pink ball over the next few weeks and distribute it among the team for practice. Feedback will then be taken over the performance of the ball.  “The ball we came to know has improved and ready for the top cricket as it been a while we had experimented with the orange and pink”, Sheikh said. "But we are obviously keen and enthusiastic about the idea and we will be playing the Quaid-e-Azam trophy final with the new pink balls”.

 

It is not the first time the PCB has mulled the option of day-night Tests. Pakistan took the initiative to become the first country to play Test cricket under floodlights against Sri Lanka in United Arab Emirates two years ago, but the proposal was declined, citing their players’ lack of practice with the pink ball (PTG 1172-5662, 18 August 2013).

 

As part of their trials, the PCB also tested the orange ball during the 2010-11 season final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, while the 2011-12 season final was played with the pink ball. While the response was encouraging, the main concern was the overlapping of the colour of the seam and that of the sight screen (PTG 874-4270, 17 December 2012).

 

Headline: Former Aussie player gives insight into his approach to ‘banter'.

Article from:  The Independent.

Journalist: Mark Critchley .                          

Published: Friday, 13 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1687-8294.

 

Former Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has revealed the true story behind an infamous foul-mouthed tweet sent by Cricket Australia (CA) during the 2013 Ashes series.  The tweet, reading “That decision, such ass #bull****”, was published by the organisation’s official account moments after umpire Tony Hill had ruled Ian Bell not out on day three of the series’ second Test at Lord’s.  Bell appeared to have been caught at gully by Steve Smith off Ryan Harris’ bowling but was rescued after television replays suggested the ball had been grounded.

 

The tweet was quickly deleted and CA issued an apology, reading: “Apologies for the inappropriate tweet earlier regarding the Bell catch. It didn’t emanate from CA’s official Twitter presence at Lord’s”.  Haddin, Australia’s wicketkeeper that day, has now revealed that he was the man behind the expletive-laden message.  What’s more, he pinned the blame on Shane Watson, which almost jeopardised the all-rounder's international career.

 

Haddin said this week: “Great memory this. Now that I am retired I can finally reveal the story behind this infamous tweet.  Back in the 2013 Ashes in England, our media manager (I won't name him) ducked out of the pavilion to take a p***. A couple of the boys realised his laptop [was] just sitting [there] open on the table, so I quickly snuck on it and tweeted this tweet on the left through the official [CA] twitter account.  At the time we, [Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, David Warner, James Faulkner], Ryan Harris and I thought it was hilarious. Boy was the bloke p****d off when he came back or what".

 

"Turns out while he was in the dunny, he received a call from the Cricket Australia Board back home asking him to explain what he just tweeted. He demanded that the person who did it own up for their actions, but me and the boys were having none of it, so we just blamed it on Shane Watson to get ourselves out of trouble".

 

"In hindsight that wasn't a great idea because Watto had only been suspended just a few months earlier on the Indian tour for not doing his homework. What was supposed to be a little bit of banter spiralled out of control when [CA[ actually decided to fine Watto for the incident and hand him his second strike, meaning if he got another strike he'd be axed from the [CA] contract list.  It was pretty funny actually because Watto thought that it was Michael Clarke that was trying to frame him, but really it was me and the boys I mentioned".

 

"To this day only a few of us know the real story and Watto still doesn't know who did it, guess he does now! Sorry [Shane Watson], it was just banter! You should've used your review mate!"

 

Headline: England players cleared to prioritise IPL over Tests.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Jonathan Lieu.                          

Published: Friday, 13 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1687-8295.

 

Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, says players from that country will be allowed to skip future Test series to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and to keep them fresh for limited-overs cricket. Strauss also urged a greater separation between the longer and shorter formats, in the strongest indication yet that the primacy of Test cricket within the English game is well and truly over (PTG 1686-8289, 12 November 2015).   

 

With a number of IPL franchises already circling around top England players such as Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, Strauss said that “hard decisions” would have to be made to keep players fresh while also giving them the maximum experience of white-ball cricket.  “We won’t get better by treating one-day cricket as the poor relation”, Strauss said. “We always make our sacrifices in one-day cricket rather than Test cricket, but we need to have far more balance between the two formats. Our best way to prioritise both is by having more separation and more specialists in each team”.

 

“We all know how hard the international schedule is for people who play all forms of the game. It is unbelievably difficult, and at times they are going to need resting. If someone is a white-ball specialist and his focus is on white ball cricket, then it is an easy decision to make. If someone is in the Test team or very close, that’s a harder decision. But let’s be honest: we’re not going to make massive strides in white-ball cricket without making some hard decisions along the way”.

 

At the same time, though, Strauss insisted that Test cricket retained its importance, and expressed concern about the swathes of empty seats at recent Tests in Brisbane, Sharjah and Mohali. “I don’t think that looks good for the game”, Strauss said.  “We can never be arrogant and just assume that Test cricket will stay forever. We all have a responsibility to try to help the game of cricket grow. The people that are focused and in charge of that are the International Cricket Council, and they have to make sure they give Test cricket the best possible chance”.

 

Headline: WICB fines three for Level One offences.

Article from:  WICB press release.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 13 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1687-8296.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has fined three players ten per cent of their match fees as a result of Level One incidents that occurred during the first round of its ‘domestic’ first class series last weekend.  Dave Bernard Jr of Jamaica and Kevin Stoute of Barbados were both found to have showed dissent at an umpire’s decision, while Shane Shillingford of the Windward Islands was penalised for conduct contrary to the spirit of the game. 

 

The WICB said Bernard and Stoute were reported by umpires Peter Nero, Jonathan Blades and Ryan Willoughby during the match between their respective teams in Bridgetown for appealing excessively for an LBW decision which was given “not-out”.  Shillingford was reported by umpires Nandkumar Shivsankar, Joel Wilson and Imran Moakan during the match against Guyana in Providence when he pointed at his elbow during an appeal for caught behind against him, a move that in the WICB’s words was "deliberately attempting to influence the umpire’s decision”.

 

Headline: Glass in top soil contaminates grounds.

Article from:  Bunbury Mail.

Journalist: Justin Raken.                          

Published: Friday, 13 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1687-8297.

 

Six matches in Western Australia’s Bunbury and Districts Cricket Association (BDCA) matches will go ahead this weekend despite grounds at Forrest Park and Hay Park being contaminated with shards of glass earlier in the week, something that also happened in Queensland earlier this year (PTG 1625-7932, 22 August 2015).  The glass was contained in top soil used by a company contracted by the City of Bunbury.  BDCA president Paul Gardiner said the grounds that luckily the grounds that were contaminated did not have matches scheduled on them this week.  Forrest Park was reopened to the public on Friday, but warning signs at Hay Park will remain in place with a review of the condition of both grounds will take place next week ahead of the next round of matches.

 

Headline: New Perth stadium pitch under development.

Article from:  ABC News.

Journalist: Clint Thomas.                          

Published: Friday, 13 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1687-8298.

 

The turnstiles will be rolling over at Perth's new $A1.5 billion plus (£UK703 m) stadium in just two years, and that means cricket in Western Australia is counting down to the biggest move in its history.  Its current home at the WACA Ground is synonymous with fast bowling, and plans are well underway to replicate that at the new stadium at Burswood.  The solution may already be growing at nearby Gloucester Park, the home of harness racing in Perth.  A prototype of the drop-in pitch that will be used at the new venue has been soaking up the sun there for about six weeks.  The pitch will be tested under match conditions in February.

 

Perth Stadium project director Ronnie Hurst said the quality of the pitch at Burswood was of paramount importance.  "It doesn't matter what sport it is, the playing surface is the most important thing to the teams, and none more so than in cricket”, he said.  "If you lose the quality of surface you lose so much more, so we are focussing a lot of time and energy on making sure we get this prototype right”.  Hurst was confident that with the help of Cricket Australia and the WACA, Perth would remain a pace-bowling paradise when the new stadium opens in 2018. 

 

Headline: Scandals must prompt cricket to reform.

Article from:  The Times.

Journalist: Mike Atherton.                          

Published: Friday, 13 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1687-8299.

 

Less than 20 years ago, David Richards, then the recently appointed chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), made an urgent phone call to India. He needed funds, and quickly. There was not enough money in the ICC’s coffers to pay the monthly salaries. Five years later, the ICC sold the rights to the 2003 and 2007 World Cups for more than $US500 million ($A701 m, £UK328.5 m). Soon enough, the sport would become a billion-dollar business. Money has come late and quickly to cricket. 

 

The wheels of administration, though, grind slowly; governance has not caught up with this dramatic shift, and in the gap between a global business worth billions and administrative structures organised along amateur lines can be found many of the problems affecting the game — and sport more generally.  It seems pernickety to point to a criticism of the excoriation of athletics by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) this week, but one comment from Richard H McLaren, a Canadian lawyer and co-author of the report, made me wince. Doping, he said, was on a different scale of moral degradation from other corporate governance scandals, such as those affecting Fifa. “Bribes and payoffs don’t change actual sporting events, but doping takes away fair competition”,he said in an interview. 

 

On one level that is hard to argue against. We care about sport, not those who run it. But what do sporting governing bodies exist for if not to uphold standards of ethical behaviour and to set standards to which athletes in the field should aspire? Where do problems start if not at the top? And where does cleansing begin, if not at the top? 

 

That is why world athletics chief Lord Coe’s refusal to give up his Nike contract is so damning. No one thinks he favours Nike but everyone can see the potential conflict of interest, except Coe. Perception matters. Here is how he defended it: “Conflict exists if it is not registered. Conflict exists if you can’t stand behind due process and procedure and conflict exists if you behave badly. I don’t intend to do any of those three”.  But what about the next man, Seb, or the man below you who does not have what Greg Dyke, the chairman of the Football Association once termed, “don’t give a f*** money”?

 

The history of sports administration is one of limited men with a love of the sport acting in unpaid capacities, often on a shoestring. In the past, there was no need of good governance as there was, with little money on or off the field, no threat of corruption and therefore little oversight or interest from outside agencies.  So it did not really matter that there was little or no tradition of executive power, little transparency, little accountability and myriad conflicts of interest.

 

But whereas money changed sport, in the corridors of power time has stood still. The most important administrator in English cricket for a decade, Giles Clarke, has been unpaid. Coe, the man charged with cleaning up athletics, is unpaid by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The annual report of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), uploaded for scrutiny for the first time this year, reads like the report of the local golf club, with honorary secretaries, honorary joint secretaries and honorary treasurers and the like. What happened to executive power? 

 

Medieval administrative structures produce peculiar pathways to power. Those climbing the greasy pole have to find ways of ingratiating themselves to others, of procuring votes and winning elections with all the compromises these things entail. Schmoozers do well in sports administration.  These systems produce politicians, with politicians’ Machiavellian instincts for power and staying in power. 

 

Dyke referred this year to Sepp Blatter’s “Nixonian politics”. Blatter, Dyke said, felt that you were either for him or, if not, you were an enemy. Similar feelings of fear and paranoia have pervaded cricket in the past few years. Commentators have often been chosen in India for their pliancy. Those prepared to speak their minds have been frowned upon. Haroon Lorgat, Dave Richardson’s predecessor as chief executive at the ICC who wanted governance reform, found himself looking for a new job.

 

Wealthy businessmen, who have run cricket recently, like to run things a certain way, as they would their own fiefdoms. Recently, in Dubai, I spent an informative hour with Richardson. He detailed how he, the head of global cricket, had no idea about the working party that met clandestinely for months before presenting India, England and Australia’s power and money grab to the rest of the ICC (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014). What kind of organisation runs itself like that? What kind of chief executive is kept in the dark?

 

The governance of many sports is archaic but now, of course, with huge amounts of money there are more temptations than ever and there is interest from outside agencies: Fifa has been brought to heel by the FBI; cycling by anti-doping agencies and now athletics by Wada, all on the back of remarkable investigative journalism from various outlets and individuals. It is unlikely that recent changes at the BCCI would have happened without the scrutiny of independent judges.

 

This week, Narayanaswami Srinivasan was replaced as chairman of the ICC (PTG 1684-8271, 10 November 2015). It happened on the day that the Russian doping scandal broke, an inadvertent case of burying good news. For months the ICC had been in the invidious position of having a chairman who had been rebuked by his country’s Supreme Court over issues of governance and conflicts of interest, given his then dual role as BCCI president and Indian Premier League owner.

 

His successor at the BCCI, Shashank Manohar, given the task of cleaning up its image, has made a far more impressive start than Coe. He has promised transparency, made public the BCCI’s annual report and appointed an external ombudsman with impeccable legal credentials (AP Shah is a former chief justice of the Madras and Delhi High Court) to rule on conflicts of interest. Manohar has admitted the issues and seems determined to act (PTG 1685-8285, 11 November 2015).

 

The issues this week in athletics and more recently in football should be seen as a warning shot across cricket’s bows. The Woolf report in 2012, citing the need for governance change at the ICC, was ignored (PTG 1287-6206, 8 February 2014). Transparency International, which produced a report one year later arguing the same, was ignored (PTG 1238-5976, 21 November 2013). The continuing trial with Chris Cairns is actually a reminder of how generally clean the international game is (a handful of games under suspicion from players at the heart of international cricket for years), but what has happened with Fifa and the IAAF is a warning of the greater dangers of administrative corruption. Recently, it was announced that a former member of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board is under investigation (PTG 1661-8133, 13 October 2015)

.

With many of the architects of the ICC’s recent institutional revamp gone (PTG 1679-8243, 3 November 2015), cricket should take its cue from the troubles in other sports and act before it is too late.

 

Headline: BCCI’s sleight of hand keeps the rabbit in the hat.

Article from:  The Hindu.

Journalist: Suresh Menon.                          

Published: Thursday, 12 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1687-8300.

 

However tempting it is to see the recent moves by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as “reforms”, the fact remains that these are “compromises”. The aim was to change the perception of the board in the public’s mind and earn some brownie points ahead of the Justice Lodha Committee report (due next month), which is expected to talk reform.

 

The BCCI is attempting to give the impression of doing good while carrying on as before. President Shashank Manohar, more media-friendly than his predecessor Narayanaswami Srinivasan, has countered perceptions of conflict of interest with perceptions of solutions. Perhaps the board’s legal team will come out with air-tight solutions over the next couple of months. But it is too early to send out for the champagne.

 

It is not all doom and gloom, of course. By rolling out solutions, the BCCI has acknowledged there were problems after all. It had been in denial earlier. By appointing an ombudsman to adjudicate on ethical issues, an independent outsider has been brought in, although it is unclear whether his decision will be binding or merely recommendatory. There is too the contracts system for women cricketers which was long overdue and thus doubly welcome.

 

But the heads of committees don’t inspire. The BCCI might have better men than Anil Kumble to head the Technical Committee, but it clearly has only one person with the talent to head the Indian Premier League (IPL). Rajeev Shukla, who presided over the worst days of the IPL is back as chairman of its governing council. C.K. Khanna as umpire’s committee chairman? Niranjan Shah as chairman of the National Cricket Academy? Where are the fresh, young faces? Is the board admitting there is a lack of quality personnel or accepting that old wine in old bottles is the solution to old problems? It is good to see the annual report and some financials online. From opaqueness to transparency is a difficult path, but the baby steps here are encouraging.

 

The decision to anoint six new venues as Test centres, however, is a continuation of rule-by-compromise the BCCI has always been famous for. Handing out Tests (sometimes against its own rotation system) to friendly and vote-important centres is an old tradition. India do not need so many Test centres, what they need is for the existing ones to be made more spectator-friendly. As an aside, was the BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur among those who decided on his home turf Dharamsala’s elevation? Would that constitute conflict of interest given that he is a federal political from that area?

 

The moment the BCCI declared that its code on conflict of interest had been adopted “unanimously”, it became clear that compromise was still on the agenda. By focusing on the soft targets — Roger Binny, Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri — it created the perception that all conflict of interest issues had been dealt with. Shashank Manohar clarified at the press conference that Sourav Ganguly wearing different hats did not constitute conflict of interest.

 

Clearly Ganguly is the Ravi Shastri of the new administration. Under Srinivasan, Shastri was the go-to man for most things: IPL, television commentary, disciplinary committees; now Ganguly, the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal is in the IPL Governing Council, and is head of the technical committee. That there is no money involved — Manohar’s argument — fails to acknowledge that conflict issues are not always about money.

 

Ganguly is also in the Cricket Advisory Committee, hastily put together to give the board some credibility when the public perception was against it following the Supreme Court’s strictures. A member of that committee, Sachin Tendulkar, might be in violation of the conflict of interest code as defined by the BCCI since he is a mentor of the Mumbai Indians IPL team.

 

“I have the right to practise my profession as a lawyer”, Manohar pointed out when someone asked him about any personal conflict of interest. Former players have argued that that should be sauce for the gander too. Cricket, they say, is all they know and they shouldn’t have to choose between running an academy and running for an administrative post. Dilip Vengsarkar and Brijesh Patel have had academies for over a quarter century now; they are also office-bearers in their State associations. Patel is also with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. None of this is a secret.

 

The BCCI owes it to these former cricketers to clarify the position. Vengsarkar and Patel are the more prominent names who run academies. Some board officials do so too. The code would affect a large chunk of India’s administrators, many of whom have cosy business arrangements with their local cricket bodies.

 

If the Conflict code falls apart, it will on the grounds of inconsistency. What is good for the Shastris and Kumbles ought to be good for the Niranjan Shahs and Ajay Shirkes too. A too-narrow interpretation of the code might keep former players away from administration, and that cannot be good for the game. The BCCI has tended to have one set of rules for administrators and another set for the players.

 

I am not sure the code has been thought through. By pushing it through at an Annual General Meeting and only then looking to the lawyers to give it a proper shape and clarity, the BCCI might have put the cart before the horse. The haste, of course, was occasioned by the impending boom expected to be lowered by Justice Lodha.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,688

Sunday, 15 November 2015

 

• Broken collarbone sees skipper replaced after toss [1688-8301].

• ‘Concussion in Sports’ presentation for Jamaican umpires [1688-8302].

• Club in limbo following league expulsion over disciplinary issues [1688-8303].

• Cricket Australia to review Test ticket prices [1688-8304].

• Farcical tour schedule savages Black Caps [1688-8305].

• Strauss clarifies Test-IPL comments [1688-8306].

• Masters’ league gets ICC approval [1688-8307].

 

Headline: Broken collarbone sees skipper replaced after toss.

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Saturday, 14 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1688-8301.

 

Victorian captain Matthew Wade won the toss and decided to bat in the first class game against Western Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday, however, he was unable to play after suffering a fractured collarbone while batting in the nets against ‘throw downs’ before the match began.  Match referee Bob Stratford approved a late change to Victoria's team sheet, wicketkeeper Aaron Ayre being called from a Premier League club game at short notice to make his first-class debut.

 

Cricket Victoria confirmed that Wade had gone for scans immediately after being hit, which confirmed the injury.  Victoria's physiotherapist Nick Adcock said: "Matt will get further medical advice on Monday to determine the extent of the injury and recovery period”.  Peter Siddle will captain Victoria in the game against Western Australia, having been released from the Test squad in Perth to return to Melbourne early on Saturday morning after the four-hour flight.

 

Headline: ‘Concussion in Sports’ presentation for Jamaican umpires.

Article from:  Jamaican Observer.

Journalist: Sanjay Myers.                          

Published: Saturday, 14 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1688-8302.

 

Members of the Jamaica Cricket Umpires’ Association (JCUA) are to attend a session titled 'Concussion in Sports’ during their retreat at a hotel in Montego Bay this weekend.  The presentation is to be given by Dr Carl Bruce, a consultant Neurosurgeon and Associate Lecturer at the University of the West Indies.  The theme of this year’s JCUA gathering is 'Staying Ahead of the Game' and is the main training seminar for all local umpires on the island, which will focus on "playing conditions and the changes in the Laws" of the game.

 

Headline: Club in limbo following league expulsion over disciplinary issues.

Article from:  Reading and Berkshire News.

Journalist: Jonathan Low.                          

Published: Friday, 13 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1688-8303.

 

The Berkshire Cricket League (BCL) has expelled the BCS Grosvenor Cricket Club from its membership because of a number of disciplinary issues that arose during their games last season.  The decision was taken by the league’s executive committee who said in a statement that BCL "clubs pride themselves on playing fair yet competitive cricket”, but “following several incidents over a period of time [we have] decided [we] should not tolerate [BCS Grosvenor’s] poor disciplinary record and further damage the family friendly image of the league”.

 

The BCL will call an Extraordinary General Meeting of all its league clubs to discuss the expulsion decision if BCS Grosvenor obtain support from officers from five BCL clubs as required by the League Constitution.  The league’s statement continues by saying: “It would seem [BCS Grosvenor’s] failure to gain any support so far might indicate the management committee have made the correct decision on behalf of its clubs”. BCS Grosvenor players with "a good disciplinary record and who have not previously been suspended from cricket are eligible to play for other clubs”, says the league.

 

BCS Grosvenor vice-chairman Nas Bashir said the club’s players were “devastated” at the decision.  “Our players were in tears over the weekend. Cricket is our life, we are totally shocked”, said Bashir, “we're all business people, we like to play hard but fair cricket on a Saturday and enjoy ourselves”.  "We have been a part of this league for 10 years and we don't want to leave. This is totally unacceptable. How can you expel a Premier Division club just like that? There must be a hidden agenda here”.

 

When asked why the club had been expelled, Bashir said: "There was a game against Sulhamstead earlier in the season but there was nothing in the umpire reports after the game.  "We haven't been causing any trouble or received any fines.  I'm totally bemused and flabbergasted as the league has no solid evidence.  It's criminal, unacceptable and unfair how we have been treated”.

 

Bashir added his club, which won the BCL’s Premier Division in 2009 and 2011, was making significant investment and had planned to encourage youngsters to take up the game.  “We've spent more than £5,000 ($A10,700) on new covers, sight screens and an electronic scoreboard for our ground this season. The club is well-run and we have a lovely ground at Berkshire County Sports. Anyone can come and join our club, we are completely open.  We are getting solicitors involved as we have to answer to our sponsors because we have spent some of their money. We have plans to start coaching in schools and invest in youth teams, that's the kind of club we are”.

 

Headline: Cricket Australia to review Test ticket prices.

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 14 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1688-8304.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is to review ticket prices at the end of what is shaping up as an underwhelming austral summer. With the obvious exception of the inaugural day-night Test (PTG 1675-8219, 30 October 2015), ticket sales have been sluggish and interest low in Australia’s three-Test series against New Zealand and the West Indies.  A crowd of 1,373 watched day five of the first trans-Tasman Test in Brisbane – a figure ABC Rdio claims was severely inflated. The total attendance for the match was 53,572, a Gabba record for a trans-Tasman Test. But the unedifying sight of empty stands was bemoaned by plenty, including skipper Steve Smith.

 

There were many reasons behind the figures, yet price is the one over which CA has the most control. “It’s something we’re certainly not blind to”, CA chief executive James Sutherland told ABC radio. “We’ll definitely be reviewing that in greater detail when it comes to the end of this season”.  Sutherland added it would be naive to believe that price was solely responsible for fans staying away. “It’s not a silver bullet solution. Any marketer or economist will tell you it’s not all about price”, he said.

 

Sutherland highlighted the fact CA committed to broadcasting all Tests live into local markets in 2013 as one of the other key factors. Previously there would be some form of blackout or delay – incentivising locals to attend the match.  “We don’t want anyone to have any excuse to say they can’t watch the cricket on TV”, Sutherland said. “That’s a very significant step that we’ve taken and that changes the dynamics of the whole equation”.

 

That stick has become somewhat less powerful since CA launched its live pass, allowing fans to watch live streaming of all top-tier cricket in Australia.  Sutherland felt there was already “a lot of flexibility” in CA’s pricing and ticket options, pointing to the fact there were evening session tickets available for the day-night fixture at Adelaide Oval. But the long-serving CA boss added the topic would feature in the upcoming review.

 

“Admittedly we haven’t done a really detailed study on that for maybe five years and it’s something we’re absolutely focused on”, he said. “We’re going to think deeply about it. We need to make sure we make a compelling case for people [to attend] ... Test matches are played on three weekdays”.  England and India toured the past two summers, the high-drawing teams a far cry from the opposition confronting Australia now. It will only get worse when the West Indies arrive, bereft of some of their biggest stars that are instead playing the Big Bash League (PTG  1686-8289, 12 November 2015).

 

Headline: Farcical tour schedule savages Black Caps.

Article from:  The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Saturday, 14 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1688-8305.

 

Tour schedules are complicated to organise. They must suit both parties. They must strike a balance between off-field profit and on-field equity. They must meet the wants and needs of the public. They must reflect the available ­facilities.  Be that as it may, tour schedules at the moment reflect nothing so faithfully as the short-termism and self-interest that has enveloped the cricket world in the past decade, and it’s worth trying to understand why.

 

Consider the schedule under which New Zealand agreed to tour Australia this austral summer. There have been worse arrangements this year: Bangladesh hosting South Africa at the peak of the monsoons in July which resulted in play on only four of the 10 days may be the standout candidate here (PTG 1610-7830, 4 August 2015). But it’s still an alsatian’s breakfast.

 

It started with an Australian Prime Minister’s XI game — the earliest that venerable fixture has been held since its 1951 inception (PTG 1607-7813, 1 August 2015).  The following morning, the Black Caps began a two-day second-class fixture against a thrown-together Cricket Australia XI in which eight batsmen retired out. This was followed by four sessions on the now infamous goat track at Blacktown (PTG 1676-8226, 31 October 2015).  And, errr, that’s it — on to the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane where, amazing to say, batsmen who had not played a Test since May struggled to adapt to pace and bounce.

 

On Tuesday the Australian and New Zealand teams flew 3,600km crossing three time zones to Perth for the Test that began on Friday. Ever done that flight? It’s Australian civil aviation’s version of extreme rendition.  Oh, and in a week’s time New Zealand will prepare for the Adelaide Test by playing a two-day game against a WA XI — whoever they may be — in Perth (PTG 1674-8212, 29 October 2015). That’s because there were no floodlit venues available in Adelaide for a pink-ball tryout.

 

Coaches and players hold a certain amount of responsibility for “it’ll-be-all-right-on-the-night” schedules like this, grounded as they are in that philosophy of former England coach Duncan Fletcher’s about it being better for a team to be “undercooked” than “overcooked”. Such schedules reflect an anxiety around fatigue, which it is true sets in quickly on the modern train-play-travel treadmill.

 

A vogue word at the moment, for example, is player “loads”, rather than anything so quaint as “games” or “overs”. Loads are to be “managed”. Loads are to be “adjusted”. Thus the dreck of two-day cricket, barely more than a centre-wicket training, because of the inconvenience about first-class matches that they must ­actually be played rather than manipulated. But how well are these arrangements working? Correlation may not be causation, but perhaps you’ve noticed how difficult away Tests are becoming to win against anything but abjectly poor opposition.

 

In Brisbane last week, the Black Caps chased the Test from ball one. Two bowlers broke down. Three others looked as though they wouldn’t have ­minded doing so.  In Mohali last week, South ­Africa, ostensibly the world’s number one Test team, were overwhelmed twice in barely 100 overs on a pitch that was no worse than averagely bad.  Their lead-in had been as sketchy as New Zealand’s here: three One Day Internationals, and a leisurely two-dayer. Hashim Amla — he of the epic concentration and yogic calm — left a straight ball that hit off stump.

 

If the idea of preparation for anything is to approximate the challenges and stresses you will shortly experience, then it is pretty obvious how contemporary conventions fall short.  For this is not simply a matter of “acclimatising”, to pitches, heat, light or even “loads”. It is about intensity, scrutiny, duration, consequentiality. With the best will in the world, it is difficult to see how playing lo-fi matches against muck-up XIs in empty grounds over two days gets anyone in the right frame of mind for big occasions over five days against quality oppositions in the full modern media blare.

 

But we should not stop here in considering modern schedules, because all players and coaches really do is fall in with the finite resources and time at their disposal, rationalising as they go, with occasional use of the catch-all phrase “not ideal” through gritted teeth when it gets too ridiculous.  Because international cricket’s calendar is in a sorry state. It has been since the Indian Premier League and Champions League started gouging hunks out of it eight years ago, and especially since the shameless shakedown of the International Cricket Council by boards of India, England and Australia in February last year, the so-called ‘Big Three' (PTG 1346-6505, 5 May 2015).

 

This made the arrangements for all tours “bilateral” — a soothing word because it suggests some form of negotiation takes place, when everyone knows that the large basically dictate to the small.  In this world, tour matches stand friendless. They cannot win sponsors; they do not interest broadcasters. They are an actual cost for an unquantifiable benefit, an encumbrance also to increasingly crowded domestic schedules.

 

The trend is in the other direction. Back before the ICC’s Future Tours Program (FTP) became something to make paper aeroplanes from, it imposed a set of reasonably sensible protocols: a tour could be no shorter than two Tests and three one-day internationals; there were specified hiatuses between Tests and limitations on the number of short-form games within fixed periods, and so on.

 

To the Big Three’s world of the bilateral “FTP Agreement”, none of these protections, which existed for the game as well as for the players, applies. There is not even a standard FTP Agreement. Yet the process is self-defeating. If touring teams are not given the opportunity to produce their best cricket, if Test matches are prepared for in so perfunctory a way, then the format will generate more one-sided, substandard cricket.  Speaking of which, the West Indies arrive in Australia in a week for perhaps the least-awaited tour in modern memory, having just been beaten off the park by a weak Sri Lanka.

 

Three of their players have played Tests in Australia before and they are missing some of their better players (PTG 1686-8289, 12 November 2015). Yet their preparation for a three-match series, including a Boxing Day Test, will be a solitary four-day game against a CA XI at Allan Border Field in Brisbane. That’s not a schedule. That’s preparing to write your PhD by dashing off a limerick on a table napkin. And unfortunately that’s 21st century international cricket.

 

Headline: Strauss clarifies Test-IPL comments.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 14 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1688-8306.

 

Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, has moved to clarify his position on allowing players to miss Test series in order to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) or other “approved” franchise tournaments.  Strauss had appeared to raise the possibility of doing so on Thursday, as well as the possibility of resting all-format players from lesser Test series to preserve them for limited-overs cricket (PTG 1687-8295, 14 November 2015).  

 

Strauss now says he "can’t foresee any circumstances in which we would weaken our Test team in order to allow an England player to play in the IPL or any other franchise-based competition.  This is about striking the right balance in the long-term between red-ball and white-ball cricket, and giving players greater opportunities to improve in both formats”.  

 

Headline: Masters’ league gets ICC approval.

Article from:  The Hindu.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 14 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1688-8307.

 

The Masters Champions League (MCL), a Twenty20 league planned for retired cricketers in the United Arab Emirates early next year, has been allocated a No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Although the ICC is yet to issue an official statement, sources in the governing body have indicated the competition has been classed as an “approved” series.  

 

A total of 90 players from six teams, or 15 members per squad, are to be selected during an “auction" in Dubai on Friday week. The MCL is being promoted by major events a firm owned by former Australian player Dean Jones.  The series has been approved for an initial 10-year period by the Emirates Cricket Board (PTG 1575-7571, 24 June 2015).

 

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to issue NOCs to players who do not have central contracts to participate in the third edition of the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 series which is due to get underway next Sunday and run over three-and-a-half weeks to mid-December.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,689

Monday, 16 November 2015

 

• Serious flaws in UDRS indicate need for overhaulI [1689-8308].

• Indian spinner prefers ‘Kookaburra’ over ‘SG’ Test balls [1689-8309].

• Problems with ‘Kookaburra’ Test ball keeps fourth umpire busy [1689-8310].

• High-tech slight screen failure stops play [1689-8311].

• Canberra for Test in 2016-17? [1689-8312].

• 'Uncertain future’ results in closure of Hull club [1689-8313].

•  Players choose BPL over first class cricket [1689-8314].

 

Headline: Serious flaws in UDRS indicate need for overhaulI.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Ian Chappell.                          

Published: Sunday, 15 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1689-8308.

 

From the outset India have distrusted the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), in particular the ball-tracking technology used for deciding LBW appeals. It only took one decision in the recently completed Brisbane Test between Australia and New Zealand to provide further proof India are right to have reservations about the system.

 

When the UDRS was upgraded to include ball-tracking, the International Cricket Council (ICC) explained the intention was to reach the correct decision. In the second innings in Brisbane New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was adjudged caught in the slips after umpire Nigel Llong concluded the ball had gone from bat onto pad and was then caught by the fielder. Replays showed this to be incorrect as the ball only hit the pad. The UDRS, as it is presently constituted, actually conspired against McCullum receiving the correct verdict. That one decision encapsulated a lot of the controversy surrounding the review system.

 

Firstly, any system that has a finite number of reviews can't guarantee the correct decision will always be reached. New Zealand had used up both of their reviews and the recalibration (after 80 overs) was still a few balls away when McCullum was given out. He had no recourse to justice, and reluctantly, and in an agitated state, left the field.  Unfortunately for McCullum this situation was replicated in Perth during the current Test when New Zealand were again unable to correct a decision via UDRS because they were out of referrals. 

 

Some believe McCullum only had himself to blame in Brisbane, as just a few balls before he had encouraged partner BJ Watling to review his LBW decision. That proved futile, as the umpires, who had had a very good game, were once again proven to be correct.  Therein lies another problem with the UDRS: the players often use it as a tactic. Umpires' decisions shouldn't be part of a team's tactics. It's a ludicrous concept, but that's what the UDRS has spawned.

 

McCullum obviously believed it was worth the gamble on Watling's LBW as he was a central player in their bid to save the game. Just as obviously, he didn't envisage needing another review before two more were reallocated 15 balls later when the 80 overs had been bowled. This was a tactical gamble and it backfired. However, he would never have been in that position if the umpires were in sole charge of the UDRS. If that was the case you'd expect only howlers to be overturned - the way UDRS should work - and the fifty-fifty decisions wouldn't attract any scrutiny.

 

Fifty-fifty decisions don't cause problems on the cricket field. The players accept that one day those will go in their favour and on another day they will go against them. That's the way it should be. However, the really bad decisions that eventually cost one team dearly can cause friction between two sides.

 

Decision reviews being in the hands of the players highlights another flaw in the system. It encourages cricketers to question the umpire's decision. That flouts what used to be the first tenet of a young cricketer's education: "The umpire is always right, don't dispute his decision”. The administrators have legislated to undermine what used to be an important aspect of a young cricketer's upbringing.

 

Because there isn't universal acceptance of the UDRS we also have the ludicrous situation where Tests are contested under different laws, depending on where you are in the world and who is playing. This makes a mockery of fairness in Test cricket.

 

Then there's the question of who controls the UDRS. The ICC should pay for the equipment (and recoup the money in the sale of rights, if they so desire), so each Test has a full complement of UDRS technology. At the moment the system is dependent on what the host broadcaster can afford and consequently there's a discrepancy in the amount and standard of equipment used in different parts of the world.

 

The host broadcaster is also involved in the UDRS process, when it should be controlled solely by cricket officials. Television companies are in the entertainment business and shouldn't be part of the decision-making process.  Until the UDRS is subjected to a serious overhaul, India are right to be cynical. In this case India have used their power wisely.

 

Headline: Indian spinner prefers ‘Kookaburra’ over ‘SG’ Test balls.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Karthik Krishnaswamy.                          

Published: Sunday, 15 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1689-8309.

 

Spectators at Test matches in India have seen more of the fourth umpire than most crowds around the world. In recent times, that match official has had to sprint onto the ground frequently, carrying a box of cricket balls.  On the first day of the Bangalore Test on Saturday, CK Nandan brought this box onto the field three times: twice during South Africa's innings, which lasted 59 overs, and once during India's 22-over response, when the umpires decided the match ball had gone sufficiently out of shape to call for a replacement.

 

Over the last two or three years, this has been a common occurrence in Test and first-class cricket in India. The Indian-manufacturerd ‘SG' (Sanspareils Greenlands) Test ball has not been holding up as well as it used to.

 

Traditionally, spinners love the SG. It is reputed to boast a prouder seam than the Australian-made ‘Kookaburra' - which is used in the rest of the cricket world apart from England and more recently West Indies - and stays harder for longer. It was a notable moment, therefore, when Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin admitted that the quality of the SG ball in recent times has left him preferring the ‘Kookaburra'. Apart from going out of shape, he also felt the seam wasn't as prominent as before, giving him less of a chance to swerve his seam-up arm ball through the air.

 

"I don't want to pick on a brand and get into trouble, but I think the same ball that I bowled with, in first-class cricket, five-six years ago, it's not the same”, he said. "There's definitely a lot of balls that are going out of shape. The arm ball… especially for a spinner, when you're trying to bowl an arm ball, the seam is not sitting high at all. So at this point of time, I seem to be enjoying the Kookaburra a lot more”.

 

In recent years, the BCCI has used the ‘Kookaburra' in its Duleep Trophy first class series to help domestic cricketers acclimatise to the ball and prepare for future challenges overseas rather than because of issues with the SG's longevity. A plan was mooted as far back as 2006 to use the Kookaburra rather than or in alternation with the SG in home Tests, but it did not come to fruition due to various issues including the significantly greater cost of the Kookaburra. The growing incidence of the SG going out of shape, however, might bring the topic back onto the discussion table.

 

Headline: Problems with ‘Kookaburra’ Test ball keeps fourth umpire busy.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Sunday, 15 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1689-8310.

The problems which have resulted in the ball in the second Australia-New Zealand Test in Perth having to regularly be replaced, reflect issues which have beset the ‘Kookaburra’ brand over the past year, says Australian vice-captain David Warner.  Fourth umpire Mick Martell was repeatedly called onto the turf with a box of replacement balls in Perth after on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Sundarum Ravi decided the ball being used was not fit for use. In one instance, when New Zealand took the second new ball late on day one, it had to be changed after just three deliveries; a total of five ball changes being needed on Friday-Saturday.

 

Asked about the scenario which led to the ball having to regularly be replaced – theoretically by a similarly worn ball, minus the damage – Warner replied: "I'd like to give you the honest response, but I can’t”.  "The balls themselves, I don't know if they're soft or if they're in a dry condition as they're new. Honestly, I don't know. One or two hits and the ball was becoming raised off the quarter-seam, which is very rare”, Warner said after the second day’s play on Saturday.  The replacement of the new ball late that day came after Warner himself had struck a boundary, and then a two, off Black Caps paceman Trent Boult.

 

While there has been significant scrutiny on the resilience of the pink ball to be used in the historic looming day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand, the red ball could be deserving of the same treatment, with Warner lamenting how often balls had to be changed, stretching back to last summer.  "This batch of balls, from probably the past 12 months, have been pretty poor. Now it's probably the fifth or sixth game we've played with Kookaburra balls where we've had to actually change them more than once on the field”, he said.  "It's actually a bit disappointing because the bowlers like to get into a rhythm [with the same ball], like to work on the ball and get it to swing. At the moment it's chopping and changing a lot."

 

Black Caps’ bowler Doug Bracewell was at a loss to explain why the ball had to be changed so often.  "Not too sure . . . It's a pretty hard wicket," he said. "They seem to get soft pretty quickly these days, so I don't know about [the reason for] that”.

 

'Kookaburra Sport' managing director Brett Elliot will attempt to get to the bottom of what's gone wrong with the latest batch of cricket balls when he returns from an overseas trip.  The degeneration of the balls this summer has been an issue, and has exploded in Perth.  Elliot told Fairfax Media on Sunday he is "overseas at present but from what I've seen from the game, players are frustrated by the lack of movement. "But it's hard to say until I've seen the balls”.  The pre-series focus had been on the new pink ball to be used in this month’s inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide. How ironic would it be if the pink leather stands up to scrutiny while its traditional brethren remains under fire?

 

After Australia lost the Ashes earlier this year, their third consecutive series defeat in England, former captain Ricky Ponting lobbied for the Dukes-brand ball used by England to be adopted in the Sheffield Shield in the lead-up to the next Ashes series in 2017-18.  The Dukes ball is, in softer English turf conditions at least, renowned of keeping its shape and shine longer than the Kookaburra-brand balls typically do.

 

Editor’s note: Last January, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) criticised ‘Kookaburra’ for the quality of its international-standard cricket balls and their ability to withstand the rigours of a Test match.   NZC was said then to be "seeking answers from Kookaburra" over why some of its $A100-plus balls were "struggling to go the distance” in the Test series against Sri Lanka (PTG 1496-7224, 7 January 2015).

 

Headline: High-tech slight screen failure stops play.

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 15 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1689-8311.

 

Day three of the second Test between Australia and New Zealand in Perth on Sunday was stopped for a staggering 17 minutes due to a sightscreen malfunction.  Bowling the fourth over the the day, Australia's Mitchell Starc decided after the fourth ball to go around the wicket to batsman Kane Williamson, but the electronically-operated sight screen refused to move.  That led umpires Nigel Llong and Sundarum Ravi to call an unscheduled drinks break as technicians tried to restore power to the board at the northern end.  

 

Both sides were frustrated with the delay and Starc almost dismissed Williamson with the first delivery after the interruption, an edge off the bat hitting the turf well short of the slips cordon.  "There's a few administrators breathing a sigh of relief”, former Australian captain Ian Chappell said whilst commentating for the Nine Network.  "There would have been a huge blow-up if he nicked that to first slip” and “the bowlers aren't going to be too thrilled [either as] they're warmed up, loose and now they have to stop”. Mark Taylor, another former Aussie skipper said: "I'm surprised there's not a manual way of moving the screen ... this is ridiculous”.

 

Play was extended by 17 minutes on Sunday to cover for the issue.  Unfortunately for Cricket Australia it had placed an advertising board for its web site underneath the screen that carried the slogan "where play never stops”.  Some were happy to chuckle at the lighter side of the episode.

 

Headline: Canberra for Test in 2016-17?

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 15 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1689-8312.

 

If there are seven Test matches in Australia next summer – as proposed under the Future Tours Program (FTP) – surely Canberra deserves to have one of them?  Cricket's ultimate game of strategy, survival and strength is the last piece of the puzzle the national capital needs to have ticked off every box.  Under the FTP, South Africa are set to play four Tests in Australia in late 2016 followed by a three Test series with Pakistan, one of the latter being mooted as having a pink ball, day-night format (PTG 1687-8293, 14 November 2015).

 

With Pakistan set to play on Boxing Day in Melbourne and in Sydney in the new year, you could assume Cricket Australia would like to see at least one of the Tests against South Africa – a massive money-spinner of a series – to be at either Sydney or Melbourne.  A spokesperson for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government said a Test match wasn't an immediate consideration after securing a four-year deal to play a one-day international at Manuka Oval until 2019.  That is a different attitude to the one ACT chief minister Andrew Barr adopted late last year when he said Canberra would make a big play at a Test match if a seventh Test was up for grabs.

 

Cricket ACT chief executive Cameron French said his organisation would throw its hat in the ring if there was a seventh Test.  A CA spokesperson said the cricket boards of South Africa and Pakistan had yet to sign off on a memorandum of understanding for the Test series to go ahead.  "We're in the very early stages of working through our 2016-17 home schedule”, the spokesperson said. "At this point, we aren't in a position to comment on specific details”.

 

Headline: 'Uncertain future’ results in closure of Hull club.

Article from:  Hull Daily Mail.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 13 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1689-8313.

 

One of Hull's most well-known and successful cricket clubs has been forced to fold.  Fenner Cricket Club (FCC), which was affiliated with the York and District Senior Cricket League, has been based at their Marfleet Lane home for the past 62 years have taken the decision to disband all their teams following an extraordinary general meeting of the board.  FCC released a statement citing a shortage of players and an uncertain future surrounding their home ground.  The club operated three senior teams last season as well as junior sides from Under-11s right through to Under-19s, however a decrease in numbers, including the resignation of several senior players, has forced the hand of the board (PTG 1686-8292, 12 November 2015).

 

The club has been a mainstay of the local cricket scene since the 1950s and in recent years has seen the likes of Yorkshire first team player and England Under-19s captain Will Rhodes come through the ranks.  Hull Councillor Dave Craker, a long-standing member of the club, said: "It is an absolute tragedy that it has come to this.  Being part of the club was a great way for lads to learn discipline and respect as well as enjoying the game itself.  I know a lot of people who have worked tirelessly to keep the club going over the years will be devastated. It's such a shame because we have a lot of young lads in east Hull who could do with the direction that comes with being part of a club like Fenners but unfortunately they are just not interested any more”.

 

The FCC board’s statement reads: "It is with deep regret and sadness, that following an Emergency General Meeting of Fenner Cricket Club it was decided by the Club membership that Fenner Cricket Club should be disbanded with immediate effect. The main reason [for the decision is] a shortage of players, at both senior and junior level, and the ongoing uncertainty of the future of availability of the Marfleet Ground, ensures player retention, or any future player recruitment, would continue to remain very difficult".

 

"The matter was brought to a head within the club, with resignation letters received from leading players' over the last two weeks, all indicating that they wished to leave [FCC] and to play their cricket within the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new Yorkshire Premier League North.  Senior club officials also handed in their resignations, which unfortunately has led to the decision being reached”. "The club will be run down in an orderly and professional manner, with assets to be sold off, any creditors to be paid in full and monies to be collected from debtors, with the balance of the FCC Committee to remain intact, to accomplish these tasks”.

 

Headline: Players choose BPL over first class cricket.

Article from:  Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

Journalist: Kevon Cooper.                          

Published: Sunday, 15 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1689-8314.

 

The three Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) players have been taken off their national cricket board's retainer contract program because they decided to go to Bangladesh to play in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 competition which begins next week.

 

Captain Rayad Emrit, all-rounder Kevon Cooper and opener Evin Lewis all had their T&T retainer discontinued.  Emrit and Lewis are currently battling for the Trinidad and Tobago side against Barbados in Bridgetown in the second round of the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) ‘domestic’ first class series. They, together with Cooper leave for Bangladesh after the current match. 

 

The Guardian was able to obtain a copy of the relevant section of the players contract which deals with playing cricket overseas during the term of their retainer.  A WICB official explained that the players broke their contracts with the T&T Franchise by signing contracts before gaining a release. The official pointed to Section 1.2 of the contract which reads that: “The Cricketer shall not enter into any Overseas Contract without first obtaining a release and NOC [No Objection Certificate] by the Franchise, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.

 

According to the official the three players will get an opportunity to get back into the system when the new contracts for the new term is drawn up on 4 August, 2016. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,690

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

 

• Umpire’s Cairns trial evidence questioned [1690-8315].

• Galle curator banned for two years, bookmaker links alleged [1690-8316].

• ‘Kookaburra’ to look at Perth Test balls [1690-8317].

• Australians criticised for 'horrendous sportsmanship’ [1690-8318].

• ICC congratulates Madugalle on ODI triple-century [1690-8319].

• Batsmen living in a ‘Nanny State' [1690-8320].

 

Headline: Umpire’s Cairns trial evidence questioned.

Article from:  New Zealand Herald (edited).

Journalist: Jared Savage.                          

Published: Tuesday, 17 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1690-8315.

 

Orlando Pownall, the Queen's Counsel representing former New Zealand player Chris Cairns at his trial for perjury in London (PTG 1662-8140, 14 October 2015)  has pointed to a statement made by an unnamed umpire during a lengthy summing up of the defence case on Monday.  Pownall, who questioned the evidence of a range of witnesses, particularly Cairns’ banned countryman Lou Vincent (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014), said the umpire was "not lying” but rather his information is an illustration of "confirmation bias" where evidence is embraced without scrutiny.

 

The umpire’s statement is reported to have focussed on the Indian Cricket League (ICL) match between the Chandigarh Lions and Hyderabad Heroes, the last of the 20 ICL fixtures Cairns played, in late October 2008.  According to Powell, the umpire concerned, who was due to be a witness in the trial but was not called, said Cairns bowled terribly for Chandigarh, was stumped after rushing up the pitch, and that Dinesh Mongia, one of his team mates, offered up a "silly catch”.  But continued Pownall, the reality was that Cairns did not bowl, because of an ankle injury, and was not stumped in the entire third edition of the ICL while Mongia was the top run scorer in that particular match.  "A mistake has been made. A telling one. What [the umpire] saw, never happened”, said Pownall.

 

A check of the score sheet for that match available on line shows that Cairns was dismissed caught and confirm that he did not bowl.  Details available of the match also show that former England first class umpire Allan Jones, who retired from the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Full List early in order to take up ICL opportunities (PTG 370-1972, 12 February 2009), and England-born Irish umpire Keith Smith, were on field during the Chandigarh-Hyderabad match, another Englishman David Brandon being the television umpire.

 

Headline: Galle curator banned for two years, bookmaker links alleged.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Andrew Fidel Fernando .                          

Published: Monday, 16 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1690-8316.

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has suspended Galle chief curator Jayananda Warnaweera, who is the subject of an investigation (PTG 1661-8130, 13 October 2015), from all cricket activities for two years following his failure to attend two interviews with the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU). SLC had issued Warnaweera a show-cause notice after he missed meetings with ACU officials in Colombo last month and his failure to respond to that notice prompted the suspension, SLC having “unofficially" asked him last month to step back from his Galle role.

 

ACSU officials met SLC officials following Warnaweera's failure to show up at meetings and are believed to have told the board that Warnaweera was under investigation. Specific details of that investigation have been withheld, but the ICC revealed it had already built a substantial case against Warnaweera based on financial records and alleged contact with bookmakers.  SLC officials have described Warnaweera as having "gone missing" and being "very difficult to contact”.

 

Headline: ‘Kookaburra’ to look at Perth Test balls.

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 16 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1690-8317.

 

Australian sports manufacturer ‘Kookaburra’ are to investigate just why a batch of balls used during the second Test between Australia and New Zealand in Perth have deteriorated so quickly (PTG 1689-8310, 16 November 2015).  There have been at least seven ball changes through the combined first innings at the WACA – an unprecedented number – after players complained the balls were out of shape.  A Cricket Australia (CA) spokesperson said on Monday: "We will hand the match balls from the Test back to ‘Kookaburra' to investigate what the issue may be that is causing the deterioration”.  "As with any Test, CA will also collate feedback from the match officials and players”.

 

A change of ball seemed to impact the game on day three on Sunday, when Australia had five fruitless overs with the second new ball.  It was then replaced and bowler Josh Hazlewood removed New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson with the next delivery.  The replacement ball also seemed to be swinging a lot more during an incredible burst of express pace that followed from Mitchell Starc.  Former Australian batsman Dean Jones said on Australian radio: “Over the years [Kookaburra’s] track record has been great but over the past year they have been poor,"  

 

The issue is not unique to Australia. India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin recently bemoaned the quality of the SG balls used in his homeland (PTG 1689-8309, 16 November 2015).  In Wellington earlier this year, seven Kookaburras needed to be changed during a Test between NZ and Sri Lanka (PTG 1496-7224, 7 January 2015).  NZ captain Brendon McCullum said at the time: "I'm sure Kookaburra will come up with a fix for it but it is a bit frustrating because ultimately the game is meant to be played with a round ball”.  "It makes us look like we're whingeing a bit, but when it starts to go square it becomes a slightly unfair game”.

 

Headline: Australians criticised for 'horrendous sportsmanship’.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 17 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1690-8318.

 

Former Australian player and now ABC Radio commentator Dirk Nannes criticised his countrymen on Monday for what he called "horrendous sportsmanship" after they failed to acknowledge New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor’s score of 290 during the second Test in Perth.  No one from the Australian fielding group went and shook his hand as he left the field at the end of his side's innings having achieved the highest-ever score by a Kiwi overseas.

 

Nannes was frank in his comments on ABC Radio, saying:  "After the innings - he's made 290 - not one person from the Australian camp went and shook his hand” and "I can't help but be disappointed that no one actually went out to him and shook his hand. It's not that hard is it?  You don't have a guy bat for a day and half out and there and just not even acknowledge it. That's horrendous sportsmanship”.

 

Nannes' co-commentator suggested that it had been an unintended oversight, rather than anything malicious.  Nannes in reply: "But this Australian team, we're pretty good at lapsing. It's not hard to just do the simple things”.  "It's like when you've got a kid - you teach them to say thank you when they go for a sleepover, you teach them to say thank you for the meal - pleases and thank yous”.  "That's the sort of thing that happens on a cricket field. Yes, you say it's a lapse but we see it more and more often and it's not a good look”.

 

Australian coach Darren Lehmann and his support staff stood on the player’s balcony to give Taylor a standing ovation as he departed.  The Kiwi had been clapped by Australian fielders when he brought up his double century on Sunday.  Most Black Caps’ fielders rushed up to shake Australian opener David Warner's hand after he was dismissed for a 286 ball score of 253 in the first innings of the Test last Friday.

 

Headline: ICC congratulates Madugalle on ODI triple-century.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 16 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1690-8319.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) publicly congratulated Ranjan Madugalle on Sunday for becoming the first match referee to supervise 300 One-Day International (ODIs). The former Sri Lanka captain achieved the feat in Abu Dhabi on Friday when he oversaw the second ODI of the series between Pakistan and England (PTG 1685-8279, 11 November 2015).

 

ICC General Manager Cricket, Geoff Allardice, said: “Ranjan is a consummate professional who has contributed enormously to the game of cricket both as a former captain of Sri Lanka and now as a respected member of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees. He has delivered a consistently high level of performance over a sustained period and is globally respected amongst his peers”.  Madugalle was appointed to the ICC match referees panel in 1994 and became the first person to hold the position of chief match referee in 2001, a post he still occupies.

 

Headline: Batsmen living in a ‘Nanny State'.

Article from:  The Australian.

Journalist: Peter Lalor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 17 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1690-8320.

 

Don’t blame Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson if he retires at the end of the second Australia-New Zealand Test in Perth later today. Blame flat pitches, flat balls and a flat earth approach that has turned Test cricket into a demonstration sport where batsmen fill their boots and bowlers drag theirs in the dust.  There have been some very good performances in this match. Dave Warner hit 250 and Usman Khawaja 121. Yesterday, Kane Williamson was sublime on his way to 166 and Ross Taylor not bad either as he scored a double century — the highest score by a Kiwi against Australia (PTG 1690-8318 above).

 

The Kiwi pair have given their side a chance at making a game of this, but it will take a dramatic change of form and conditions to summon a result. Runs have been scored at a fair clip in the west. Problem is, about the only exciting thing to happen at the WACA in the past three days, apart from a blistering spell of pace bowling from Mitchell Starc yesterday afternoon, was when lightning struck one of the light towers after play on Saturday evening.

 

Australia’s batsmen and bowlers are complaining about how slow the wicket is. As one of the quicks signed autographs on the fence yesterday morning, he volunteered that this obligation, one he does not relish, was more fun than bowling on the Perth wicket.  Kiwi quick Doug Bracewell ­admitted it was something of a let-down to finally arrive at the reputed mecca of fast bowling only to find it was a road.  Former Australian player Simon Katich saw the pitch on the first morning and said that even though he is now 40 years of age, he wouldn’t mind having a bat on it. Warner and Khawaja complained about its sedate state at the end of the day’s play.

 

It is sad to see the WACA like this, but it is not alone. Batsmen live in a nanny state. They are armed with bigger bats, better protective gear and given pitches where everyone wins a prize.  It was depressing to see a ball fall short of the cordon on the third over of the game — Tim Southee to Joe Burns. That just shouldn’t happen at the WACA.  Runs are becoming easier to come by at all venues. Australia have scored more than 500 in their past six Test matches in this country. In their past 13 innings they have been bowled out twice. Twice! There are some good batsmen in this side but that suggests the batting order consisted of a fantasy team of all-time greats.

 

There have been nine centuries scored in the six innings of the current trans-Tasman ­series and 1000 runs in three days of cricket in this match.  Cricket authorities like to use statements about pitches promoting a fair balance between bat and ball, but on balance it is tracking towards boring.  The balls don’t help. One lasted three deliveries. Eight were used in the first two days. The Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee believes that ball manufacturers need to look at creating a ball with a prouder seam.  “There were concerns on the committee that the balance may have shifted in the batsman's favour”, the committee noted.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,691

Saturday, 21 November 2015

 

• NZC records significant surplus, warns of tight times ahead [1691-8321].

• CA should replace ‘Kookaburra’ balls with ‘Dukes’, says Warne [1691-8322].

• High Court upholds BCCI's bone test policy [1691-8323].

• Barbados pair fined for dissent [1691-8324].

• Is it all over for Winslow Town Cricket Club? [1691-8325].

• WICB to get new name, commercial arm coming [1691-8326].

 

Headline: NZC records significant surplus, warns of tight times ahead

Article from:  Fuseworks Media

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 19 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1691-8321.

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) will start the 2015-16 year with significantly improved equity and long-term viability following an on-budgeted net surplus - a consequence of its successful co-hosting of the World Cup earlier this year.  Releasing its 121st Annual Report today, NZC has reported an annual net surplus of $NZ23.7 million ($A21.5 m, £UK  10.2 m) for the 2014-15 financial year, raising its closing balance sheet equity position to $NZ28.2 m ($A25.6 m, £UK12.1 m).

 

Chief Executive David White hailed an extraordinary year for NZC in which significant gains were made on and off the field, including stand-out performances from flagship team, the Blackcaps, a strong financial result, agreement on a lucrative Future Tours Programme and an upsurge of interest in the game at community level (PTG 1672-8204,  27 October 2015).  However, White warned that the nature of the International Cricket Council’s funding model meant NZC would face difficult financial challenges over the next two or three years, accentuating the need to protect and grow its reserves for the long-term security of the game.

 

NZC is forecasting a $NZ5 million ($A4.5 m, £UK2.1 m) loss in the 2015-16 year. "The surplus is critical for NZC in terms of our long-term viability, especially with the next two of three years promising to be financially demanding”, said White.  "Having said that, I’m delighted to report that NZC has achieved, or is in the process of achieving all our World Cup legacy goals, including improving the playing infrastructure, growing attendances and viewership numbers, and improving participation numbers - especially at junior level".

 

"We are noticing a profound upturn in interest in cricket”, he said. "Junior registrations are soaring throughout the country, ticket sales for this summer’s international series are well above their usual levels, sales of merchandise are going through the roof, and viewership numbers are strong”.  White congratulated the NZ Organising Committee for overseeing such a successful World Cup tournament, and one which provided such a boost to the game in New Zealand.  He also paid tribute to tournament co-hosts Cricket Australia for contributing to what has been hailed as the most "popular" Cricket World Cup ever.

 

NZC chairman Stuart Heal said the success of the past year had encouraged NZC to launch a bold new strategic plan, in which embracing much greater inclusivity, especially towards women and under-represented groups, and developing a more coherent administration and delivery of services, were viewed as key imperatives.

 

Editor’s note:  Four months ago, NZC announced that match referees would no longer be employed to oversee its senior level first class, List A and Twenty20 games because the organisation had to tighten its belt as it was forecasting a multi-million dollar loss in 2015-16  (PTG 1637-8012, 5 September 2015).  While there has been publicity about the matter, it would also appear that financial stringencies will also impact significantly on moving forward with the umpire and scorers’ initiative it has been negotiating with the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (PTG 1632-7976, 31 August 2015). 

 

Headline: CA should replace ‘Kookaburra’ balls with ‘Dukes’, says Warne

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 19 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1691-8322.

 

Former Australian player Shane Warne has called on on Cricket Australia to ditch ‘Kookaburra’ balls and use the English ‘Dukes’ variety instead.  Kookaburras used in the recent Australia-New Zealand Test had to be changed more than a dozen times (PTG 1690-8317, 17 November 2015), and Warne suggests change is long overdue.  He said on Wednesday that “the best ball is the Dukes ball" and "for a long time we have been saying [Kookaburra] hasn’t been a very good ball but nothing seems to be changing”.

 

However, CA has a long-term relationship with Kookaburra and that won’t change any time soon.  Its head of cricket operations Sean Cary expressed confidence the manufacturer would “quickly” sort out any issues.  “Over many years, we have worked closely with them to ensure we’ve got the best product possible that adapts to any condition”, Cary said on Wednesday.  “We are naturally keen to understand more about the reports from Perth, which were surprising, given we’ve played three rounds of Sheffield Shield using Kookaburra balls without any reported issues”.  “We’ve handed the match balls from the first two Tests back to Kookaburra for assessment”.

 

Australian Pat Howard had previously floated the prospect of using the Dukes ball in Sheffield Shield, but that was in terms of preparing players for an Ashes campaign  (PTG 1620-7896, 17 August 2015).  Warne noted it wasn’t only batsmen and bowlers who were impacted by the problem.  “Fans don’t want to see three balls bowled with a brand new ball and changing it. It’s holding up the game; we’ve got to do better than that”.

.

Headline: High Court upholds BCCI's bone test policy.

Article from:  Daily News Analysis.

Journalist: Rosy Sequeira.                          

Published: Wednesday, 18 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1691-8323.

 

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday upheld the Board of Control for Cricket in India's policy to compulsorily conduct bone test to determine age of players for selection to tournaments (PTG 1621-7904, 18 August 2015).  A two-man bench rejected a submission Sagar Chhabria, a senior school student, that he be allowed to take part in the BCCI’s Under-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy after the Tanner-Whitehouse test showed him to be aged sixteen-and-a-half, whilst his birth certificate shows he is aged 15 years and 11 months.

 

In their order, the judges said the test is "followed by all sports bodies nationally and internationally" and is something with which the court cannot interfere. They said documents like birth certificates are at best "primary documents enabling a child to get other benefits”.  They went on to state such paperwork could be "false, manipulative and misleading" and hence the need for determination of age by a more scientific method. 

 

Headline: Barbados pair fined for dissent.

Article from:  WICB press release.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 19 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1691-8324.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board has penalised Barbados pair Shannon Gabriel and Jomel Warrican following the second round of the its Professional Cricket League first class competition which ended on Monday.  Gabriel and Warrican were reported by umpires Gregory Brathwaite, Verdayne Smith and Troy Tudor during the match between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago at Kensington Oval for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision.

 

When an appeal for an LBW verdict was unsuccessful on the third ball of the 95th over of Barbados first innings, fast bowler Gabriel shouted an obscenity then threw his hands wide open.  The umpires laid a Level One report but the charge was upgraded to Level Two because he had committed a similar offence in the last 12 months and as such he was fined 70 per cent of his match fee.  Warrican was fined 10 per cent of his match fee after he stood at the crease, opened his arms and delayed leaving the wicket when he was given out LBW on the final delivery of Barbados' 111th over at the crease.

 

Headline: Is it all over for Winslow Town Cricket Club?

Article from:  The Bucks Herald.

Journalist: Tom Burton.                          

Published: Thursday, 19 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1691-8325.

 

The chairman of Winslow Town Cricket Club in Buckinghamshire has issued an ‘SOS' plea after the team, which has been running for 129 years, was forced to fold.   The club, whose first XI play in the Oxfordshire Cricket Association, closed down last week because too few players are registered, finances are in ruins and the groundsman has quit.  But chairman Rupert Litherland thinks the club can be brought back to life if the right people are keen to rebuild it for: “If, suddenly, we find half a dozen cricketers, we might be able to revive it – I live in hope, but we’ve been looking at these problems for two years now".

 

Litherland thinks cricket across the UK is in a sorry state and he half-expects a supermarket to be built on Winslow Town’s ground in the next few years.  In his view: “Camaraderie, team loyalty, ‘stickability’, sportsmanship and commitment are dying and cricket at grassroots level is dying with it.  I’ve been ringing around clubs asking if any of their youngsters are not getting a match and would come and play for us.  It’s exasperating. No wonder the youngsters are
drifting away.  Winslow Town doesn’t need a supermarket. It needs sports facilities”.

 

On several occasions over the past two seasons, the club has been forced to field just 10 players in games.  In addition it was fined £50 ($A105) for conceding a match and was even asked to fork out half of the cost of the opponents’
uneaten sandwiches.  Expenditure has been £1,000 ($A2,120) more than income for the past two years and the long-standing volunteer square and wicket groundsman is not
prepared to continue.

 

Eight members turned up to the emergency general meeting and voted by a majority of five to two - with one abstention - that the club should fold.  However, despite ‘limited funds’ "there is kit, maintenance equipment and a ‘fine ground’ for anyone willing to save the club”, said Litherland, who is keen to hear from anyone who might be able to help the club get up and running again.

 

Headline: WICB to get new name, commercial arm coming.

Article from:  Jamaica Observer.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 18 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1691-8326.

 

A name change is coming for the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) as the beleaguered organisation looks to restructure its operations and create a distinct commercial arm.  The WICB will be renamed 'Cricket West Indies' and will focus on the governance aspect of the game, while a commercial body which will be revealed in coming months will address the business affairs of the organisation. President David Cameron, speaking in the Cayman Islands last weekend, said this was one of the key strategic changes being undertaken by the WICB as it sought to improve its administration of the game. 

 

Answering his own question as to why a name change was needed, Cameron said its “simply, because everybody seems to believe that the board of directors - the West Indies Cricket Board - is cricket”.  However, cricket is all of us. It's in all of our communities -- in Jamaica, Barbados and in Cayman Islands and the entire region”.  He added: "We have also created a distinct commercial entity that is to ensure that we have our brand identity and commercial platform, very distinct from our governance platform”.

 

The announcement of the changes comes just weeks after a Caricom commissioned Cricket Review Panel recommended the "immediate dissolution" of the WICB, and the instalment of an interim board to run the affairs of the game.  The commission found the WICB to be comprised of a "now proven, obsolete governance framework" and called for the resignation of the entire board membership, arguing this was necessary due to the demands of the "the standards of corporate, collective accountability".

 

Grenada's Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, chairman of Caricom's Cricket Governance Committee, had said earlier this month that an "urgent meeting" had been requested with the WICB to discuss the implementation of the panel's recommendations (PTG 1681-8254, 5 November 2015).  

 

Cameron said the report would be discussed by the board at a meeting in December but it was "making big strides in the interim, especially in the area of finance”.  "We recrafted our strategic plan using what we called the balanced scorecard. Our deficit has been reduced from just under $US4 million to under $US2 million now ($A5.5-2.8 m, £UK2.6-1.3 m)  and this year so far unaudited figures suggest we had a surplus of just under three-and-a-half million dollars” ($A4.9 m, £UK2.3 m).   

 

"Our new commercial model sees our players getting 25 per cent of the commercial revenues of the WICB. Last year, we paid our players just under $US10million ($A13.9 m, £UK6.5 m), so we're by no means a small organisation”.

 

Cameron, however, noted that ensuring the success of the West Indies senior side was the most important objective.  "There's still a lot that has to be done ... we're under no illusions that we are where we need to be, because all the great things I've told you now, we're still ranked number nine in One Day cricket, number eight in Test cricket and number three in T20, so we know we have a lot of work [to be done]”.  "And until we start winning, we're not going to go anywhere”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,692

Sunday, 22 November 2015

 

• ‘Kookaburra' blames Perth conditions for ball problems [1692-8327].

• Player dies five days after suffering mid-match stroke [1692-8328].

• ICC probing England ODI win over Pakistan [1692-8329].

• Clubs write to association over alleged match fixing [1692-8330].

• Delays in match payments rile some umpires in Bardados [1692-8331].

• The time has come for day-night Tests [1692-8332].

 

Headline: ‘Kookaburra' blames Perth conditions for ball problems

Article from:  The Courier-Mail.

Journalist: Ben Dorries.                          

Published: Sunday, 22 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1692-8327.

 

Australian sports good manufacturer ‘Kookaburra' has blamed the Perth pitch and very hot conditions for the problems experienced with their balls during last week’s second Australia-New Zealand Test in Perth.  More than a dozen Kookaburra balls were used on the rock-hard pitch in Perth as umpires were forced to make repeated changes because the ball had gone out of shape (PTG 1690-8317, 17 November 2015).  ‘Kookaburra’ has now point out not one ball was replaced during the Sheffield Shield round played at the same time as the Test at the WACA Ground descended into farce.

 

Breaking his silence after the ball failure in Perth, Kookaburra Group managing director Brett Elliot went on the front foot to defend the embarrassing scenes.  “The pitch in Perth seemed to offer very little movement for the bowlers and thus it seemed to focus attention on the ball”, said Elliot.  "Conditions have a big impact on the ability of balls to swing or move and in the first few days there was little movement for bowlers.  As cracks opened and humidity rose, the conditions became a little more bowler friendly in later stages and we saw New Zealand opt not to take the (second) new ball".

 

“A Shield round was also being played during the Test and not a single ball was replaced”, continued Elliot.  “We are also yet to receive complaints on the turf balls being used each week in Grade cricket around the country, so we think this issue may be specific to Perth”.

 

Cricket Australia and ‘Kookaburra' have launched an investigation into the Perth debacle and the balls from the Test have been sent back to Melbourne for analysis, however Elliot indicated the results of the investigation may not be made public.  “I expect to have the results of the analysis soon however it is unlikely we will provide that data to any organisation other than the cricket authorities”.  “We constantly seek to produce a ball that offers an even balance between bat and ball, sometimes environment and playing conditions can shift that balance".  

 

Elliot also said: "You will always get bias between what a batting side wants and what a bowling side want, the key is balance.  We manufacture the cricket balls in Melbourne and have done so for over 100 years. The ball is made from the very finest Australian hides under control conditions”.

 

Former Australian opening bowler Ryan Harris reckons there has been a problem with the Kookaburra balls for a while.  “It must be really bad at the moment as when the bowlers complain, the umpires agree to change the balls straight away”, said Harris.  “A lot of times when I played you would ask the umpires to change the ball and they would say there wasn’t a problem and to keep bowling with it.  I know for a couple of years the balls that have been used haven’t been great”.

 

The dramas with the red balls have sparked some fears about the quality of the pink balls heading into this week’s historic day-night Test in Adelaide.  Elliot insists though that extensive tests had been performed on the revolutionary pink balls.  A Kookaburra pink ball fact sheet says: “The Kookaburra Pink Turf ball might behave slightly differently in changing light conditions from day to night, when exposed to increased moisture content or to lower evening temperatures.  Players regularly adapt to different pitches, climates and ball brands worldwide.  The differences in the pink ball in the scheme of change are subtle in comparison”.

 

Headline: Player dies five days after suffering mid-match stroke

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 22 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1692-8328.

 

Raymond van Schoor, Namibia’s 25-year-old wicket-keeper batsman, died in hospital on Friday after suffering from a stroke during his side’s one-day game against Free State in Cricket South Africa's Provincial series in Windhoek last Sunday.  Van Schoor was on 15 in Namibia’s innings when he complained of dizziness and asked for water but collapsed immediately and was helped from the ground by team-mates and and then taken by ambulance where he was admitted to intensive care.  

 

Van Schoor, who was in a critical condition all last week with swelling on the brain and died on Friday evening, was one of the youngest players to play for Namibia, made his debut at the age of 17 in 2007, and went on to play 92 First Class matches, with an average of 27.40 and a career-best 157, scored against Bermuda in 2010.

 

Headline: ICC probing England ODI win over Pakistan

Article from:  The Nation.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 21 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1692-8329.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) plans to probe England’s One Day International (ODI) win over Pakistan on Tuesday amid fears the game was fixed.  England romped home to a six-wicket victory after the Pakistan middle order collapsed from 2/132 to 208 all out.  Alarm bells were set ringing over three dubious Pakistan run-outs and several dropped catches during England’s innings. The ICC is reported to have directed its Anti-Corruption and Security United (ASCU) to investigate whether there was unusually betting activity around the game. 

 

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan posted a series of tweets during Tuesday’s match, which were later deleted.  He said: “3 run outs and a few iffy shots from Pakistan. Never seen that before!!”  And he followed it with: “They must all think we are stupid”.  An unnamed ASCU source said: “After comments like that we couldn’t ignore it but we also had other reasons to look into it”.  Reports suggest the ICC was tipped off about unusual patterns in India’s lucrative but illegal betting market ahead of the ODI in Sharjah — with high amounts of money being placed on the Pakistanis to underperform, despite England traditionally struggling against them.

 

On Friday, Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis brushed aside claims of match-fixing against his team published in the British tabloid the 'Daily Mail’.  Asked whether he was aware of those allegations, Waqar said: "I am not aware of that, but I have been hearing about such claims and I can only say there was nothing wrong with [Tuesday’s] game”.  

 

David Richardson, the ICC’s chief executive, appears confident the match was clean.  It is understood that after making initial inquiries, the ICC is satisfied at the moment that nothing untoward happened in Sharjah, a venue mired in match-fixing scandal during the 1990s.  “Pakistan players are reporting every approach that seems to come their way. I wouldn’t be too suspicious if I were you. You can’t be absolutely certain that it’s clean, but the signs are good”, Richardson told the BBC. 

 

Headline: Clubs write to association over alleged match fixing

Article from:  The Indian Express.

Journalist: Devendra Pandey .                          

Published: Friday, 20 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1692-8330.

 

The Mumbai Cricket Association's (MCA) Kanga League local tournament finds itself in the middle of a controversy involving allegations of match-fixing and manipulation, an ‘A’ division game between Muslim United and Apollo two Sundays ago being under the scanner.  Two other MCA clubs, The Karnatak Sporting Association (KSA) and Sainath Sports Club (SSC), have sent a joint letter to the MCA alleging match fixing took place in that game with the aim of helping Muslim United to avoid relegation. 

 

The controversy broke out soon after Apollo who were already headed for relegation, fielded only eight players for what was the last game of the season.   In a letter sent by both the clubs, KSA secretary Jaya Shetty said: “Apollo scored a paltry 88 runs in their first innings while Muslim United reached 288 in its and went on to win outright, a result that allowed United to win maximum points and thus avoid relegation to ‘B division.  

 

Three days before the final Kanga league games of the season were to be played, SSC secretary Ajay Seth warned MCA joint secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar and PV Shetty about the possibility of a team manipulating match results.  As a result MCA appointed its best umpires to the Apollo-Muslim game and even sent an observer to watch over the match. 

 

Shetty confirmed that SSC had warned about some suspicious activity three days before the game was to take place which would help one team retain their place in the A division.  “The matter was heard then and we were even informed about the result of this particular game. The matter will now be placed in front of the Kanga league committee and managing committee which will decide the further course of action”, Shetty said.

 

In his report to MCA, match observer Vishwas Nerurkar wrote that all of Apollo’s batsmen went for the big shots to get the runs faster and did not intend to stay on the wicket for long time. He further stated, two nominated players Shastri and Sunil Yadav, were said to be “injured and/or not well”, were in the pavilion throughout the match and did not bat or field in both innings despite the umpires asking about their participation.

 

However, Iqbal Thakur of Muslim United said: “How can you prove that match was fixed?” “There was an observer and an umpire, and if they had felt anything was suspicious they should have stopped play.  If MCA knew about this then they should have done something about it. We also hear so many things about this team and that match but these are allegations with no head or tail”, he added.

 

Headline: Delays in match payments rile some umpires in Bardados

Article from:  Nationnews.com.

Journalist: Haydn Gill.                          

Published: Friday, 20 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1692-8331.

 

Some umpires in Barbados are complaining that they have not been paid for a few weeks, however, the Barbados Cricket Umpires Association contends that those who have not been compensated for their services failed to follow the established procedures. Frustrated by what they described as an unreasonable amount of time it was taking to be paid, some umpires, who requested anonymity, voiced their disappointment over the situation.  “Umpires work tirelessly under trying circumstances and the rewards are hardly flattering. The least we deserve is to be paid in a timely manner”, said one.

 

Headline: The time has come for day-night Tests

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Zaheer Abbas.                          

Published: Sunday, 22 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1692-8332.

 

The sceptics and critics might call it a leap in the dark, but I prefer to view the decision to play day-night Test cricket — a concept set to become reality when Australia plays New Zealand in Adelaide next week — as thoroughly enlightened.  I speak from experience, as one of a group who you could call "floodlit cricket pioneers". I was one of the players signed up by Kerry Packer to be part of World Series Cricket (WSC) in 1977 and it was through my involvement that I was exposed to day-night matches for the first time.

 

It seems remarkable that it has taken 38 years for our great sport to move from that point to one where we are now looking forward to our first Test under lights. But although it has taken some time to get here, as far as I am concerned it is a common-sense decision.  When Mr Packer came up with the concept of World Series Cricket he recognised two things. Firstly, he saw that cricket at the top level was a profession and that the best players should be paid accordingly. Players ever since, now wealthy through playing the game, can give thanks to him for that view.

 

But he also realised that professional cricket, at its heart, is an entertainment for the public as, without the support of that public, it becomes a waste of time. It should take place when the public - viewers, listeners or those wishing to attend the venue - can follow the action.  That, to me, is what day-night Test cricket is all about, giving the public, whether they be working people or schoolchildren - with both groups tied up during traditional Test match playing hours - the chance to watch or listen to the game at a time that suits them.

 

Ultimately it is all about maintaining the relevance of Test cricket, a format I was brought up on and one I continue to cherish. I love the long game, but even a traditionalist like me realises it needs to stay in touch with what people want as they have so many other competing interests in their busy lives these days.  No one, incidentally, is saying that if the match in Adelaide is a success then Test cricket should make a wholesale switch to day-night times. To even hint at that is mischievous and misleading. After all, day-night Test cricket would not suit all countries or all conditions.

 

As an example, you would not rush to play Tests under lights in England because there is no need. The crowd numbers for daytime Tests are excellent, in mid-summer it remains light until late in the evening, and when it gets dark earlier, at the beginning and end of the season, it would be too cold to sit in a stand late at night to watch the action.

Similarly, there would be no point in switching matches that take place during traditional holiday periods from day to day-night. Boxing Day and New Year Tests in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand are well supported already as people can attend them without taking time off work.

 

But, as a means to encourage people to watch Test cricket outside of those countries and outside of those times of year, day-night Test cricket is a great concept.  Just look at Pakistan's Test matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), played in a country where a large number of the population is cricket crazy and yet which take place in near-empty stadiums. With pleasant evening temperatures there from October to April and a public keen to watch their heroes but unable to do so because of work commitments, the UAE would be a perfect place to play Tests under lights if everything proves to be in order in Adelaide.

 

I know there has been a lot of discussion about the pink ball - its suitability and its lasting qualities. ‘Kookaburra', the ball's manufacturer, has been working on the concept for the past seven years and the recent round of Sheffield Shield matches suggested many misgivings were largely misplaced.  It might not be perfect, but what in life is? The pink ball has also been tested extensively in Pakistan and South Africa, as well as by the Marylebone Cricket Club in the UAE and the reality is that in order to take the game forward we all have to grasp the nettle and go for it as that is how the human race has moved forward since the beginning of time. And it is a game of cricket we are talking about here, not world peace.

 

Some of the players may have misgivings and I can understand that. I would be lying if I said I did not have similar thoughts back in 1977. But as Steve Waugh and Ryan Harris, among others, have said recently, players are resourceful and they will adapt. I know we did in those WSC days when we used a white ball for the first time, and now the idea of one-day cricket without one would be unthinkable.

 

I congratulate the two boards - Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket - for their bold step in leading the way following the International Cricket Council's approval of the day-night concept in 2012, and I also congratulate the players for seeing the benefits rather than just the drawbacks.  And while the sceptics I have mentioned may like to label those players as guinea pigs, I prefer to see all those involved as trailblazers.

 

They deserve credit for moving out of their comfort zones, and whatever else they achieve in their careers they will now always carry with them the fact they will have played in the first day-night Test that will mark, I hope, the start of a terrific new era for the game's oldest format.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,693

Monday, 23 November 2015

 

• Four-day, pink ball Tests are the future, says Taylor [1693-8333].

• Mixed review for pink ball, despite tons [1693-8334].

• Pink-ball Test only an experiment, says players’ union chief [1693-8335].

• Martinecz standing in Bangladesh Premier League [1693-8336].

 

Headline: Four-day, pink ball Tests are the future, says Taylor. 

Article from:  Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Ben Horne.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1693-8333.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) board member and former Australian captain Mark Taylor says this week’s pink ball extravaganza in Adelaide should be the starting point for a Test cricket revolution that streamlines the game into a four-day format, with a world championship as its pinnacle.  Having already led the charge with the inaugural day-night Test, CA heavies are now throwing their weight behind other initiatives aimed at saving the traditional format of the game from alienating itself from young fans.

 

Taylor and CA chief executive James Sutherland are proponents of the International Cricket Council (ICC) taking its lead from the Professional Golf Association's tour and locking Test matches in as events that begin on Thursdays and build up to a climax on Sundays when most people can engage.  Sutherland is keen on this as a day-night model that would increase the amount of overs played in a single day from 90 to 100.

 

The concept has significant support from one of the masterminds of World Series Cricket, United States-based television supremo David Hill, who describes four-day Test matches as cricket’s chance to “fish where the fishes are”.  There is also a renewed push for the often haphazard nature of Test series to take on a greater global context and build up to a more coveted overall championship, and Sutherland believes four-day Tests could feed into this with the incentive of three points for a win and one for a draw.

 

Taylor has been a vocal supporter of four-day Test cricket for more than five years and believes it’s finally growing legs.  In his view: “You’ve got to look at the game as a whole. Where is cricket going? The younger generation generally want more instant gratification and I think over five days to keep them interested in the game is not so easy”.  “But if you have four good days of Test cricket, it would finish on the Sunday and you have more chance of people coming along to the final day’s play".

 

“As someone said to me years ago, why are we surprised when people go to one-day cricket and T20 cricket more than they do a Test match, when we put all the one-dayers and T20s on in school holidays and at night, and we put Test matches on during the week outside of school holidays.  “I’ve mentioned this at ICC level and it’s something we need to have a serious look at … and I think we’re starting to get some ideas together now.  People are more about who is the best in the world at the moment. They like watching World Cup finals … if you’re always working towards who is the best Test team in the world, that can only help the game”.

 

Traditionalists might oppose the forward thinking strategy, but Taylor points out that at various periods Test cricket has been a six-day format and even a timeless game.  “It takes out Monday play, which a lot of people from what I’ve seen over the last 10 or 15 years of Test match cricket, not a lot of people come to that final day”, Taylor said.  “I don’t think the broadcasters would mind if you got down to the four days either, with the game finishing over the weekend and not on a Monday”.

 

Sutherland has already revealed CA is launching a full review into ticketing prices and structures ahead of next summer, after the low attendances for the first Australia-New Zealand Test at the Gabba (PTG 1688-8304, 15 November 2015).  CA has realised that the Test product is struggling to compete with the value for money that its own Big Bash League T20 tournament provides.  

 

Sutherland, who has long made the pink ball concept a priority, told a Sydney radio station on Saturday that Test cricket needs to make itself more accessible.  “On a larger scale I really do think international cricket needs to take responsibility to build a greater context around Test cricket so series against New Zealand, for example, means more in a global context.  Some sort of Test championship where every Test is for points is something that’s important for the future development and attractiveness of Test cricket”.

 

Headline: Mixed review for pink ball, despite tons. 

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1693-8334.

 

The pink ball continues to earn mixed reviews with centurion Sam Whiteman suggesting it became hard to pick up during Western Australia's two-day day-night tour match against New Zealand in Perth, a game in which the two umpires who will be on-field in this week’s inaugural day-night Test are obtaining a ’sighter’ (PTG 1674-8212, 29 October 2015).  Western Australia's Whiteman scored 117 and stroked 16 boundaries against the Black Caps at the WACA Ground on Saturday.  However, New Zealand's Martin Guptill, who made an unbeaten century in the match, says the pink ball is harder to see in the field, but he has no problems with it when batting.

 

Despite a productive stint at the crease, Whiteman admitted he struggled to see the ball clearly after the colour started to chip off.  He said: "The ball deteriorates pretty quickly. Towards the end it was almost not really pink - and the square is in pretty good nick.  Towards the end it got quite dark and hard to pick up”.  Whiteman added that fuller deliveries were "tougher to see". "But once you get set it's like like batting with a red ball.  The boys were saying it was quite tough out there to start under lights, but when you're set it's pretty good to bat”.

 

New Zealand bowling coach Dimitri Mascarenhas was diplomatic when asked about the state of the ball as the innings approached the 80-over mark.  "Pretty good from what I hear. The boys haven't said anything bad about it at all.  From my point of view, I saw it beautifully the whole day”.  He suggested the only major difference to the red ball was that "in the middle session it won't swing as much as the red ball usually can”.  

 

Dusk is meant to be the most difficult time to face the pink ball due to the combination of natural and artificial light.Whiteman felt New Zealand did his side a favour after the dinner break by using tweakers Mark Craig and Mitchell Santner in tandem.  "If they'd bowled a few seamers I think it would've been tough, with the shadow across the wicket and the lights just kicked in”.   New Zealand inflicted a late collapse of 5-21 with the second new ball, which swung considerably more than the first.

 

NZ's only previous pink-ball experience came in a home training camp and last month's 50-over Prime Minister’s XI fixture in Canberra, both of which involved night-time play.

 

Headline: Pink-ball Test only an experiment, says players’ union chief. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jon Pierik.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1693-8335.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has been urged to treat this week's pink-ball Test as an experiment and to tread cautiously before it looks to lock in another day-night clash next summer.

The historic clash under floodlights between Australia and New Zealand begins on Friday in Adelaide, but officials are already working towards staging another next season, perhaps at another venue.

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board has confirmed an approach from CA about the possibility of participating in a day-night Test next season (PTG 1687-8293, 14 November 2015), and will have team manager Zakir Khan on hand in Adelaide to report how the match unfolds and whether a day-night concept could even work in the United Arab Emirates, where Pakistan now stages its home matches.

 

However, Tony Irish, the chief of the Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA), the player’s union,  says it's too early to start planning for future day-night Tests.  "The day-night Test and use of the pink ball is happening and I think the players should be given credit for being prepared to see the bigger picture and undergo the experiment despite their reservations expressed collectively through their players associations and, in some instances, individually”, Irish said on Sunday.

 

"This match needs to be seen strictly as an experiment. If there's one thing that everyone agrees on, it's that the pink ball in Test cricket is a big unknown. The views of the players following the Test match have to be central to any future decisions. The players associations intend to be at the heart of representing those views back to CA and New Zealand Cricket, and FICA will also do that internationally where appropriate.  Test cricket is seen as the pinnacle format by the majority of international players. The fact that players value it so highly is critical to its survival as a format around the world.  One really shouldn't mess too much with that”, concluded Irish.

 

CA chief James Sutherland has said the day-night Test is about trying to lure more spectators and viewers at home, while CA says seven years of ball development and player and broadcasting input wouldn't have been completed for this Test to be considered a one-off.  ICC chairman Zaheer Abbas, a former Pakistan Test player, said over the weekend it had been a "commonsense decision" to look to the new concept (PTG 1692-8327, 22 November 2015).

 

The Adelaide clash, with day-one ticket sales strong as if it was an Ashes summer, is likely to be the highlight of the summer. Attendances through the opening two Tests against the Black Caps have been poor, and the struggling West Indies are next up when this series is over.  The biggest issue still appears to be whether batsmen and fieldsmen can sight the pink ball clearly from dusk.

 

Player safety has been the focus of the Australian Cricketers Association, a FICA affiliate, and Sutherland admitted on the weekend that players could have difficulty at times adjusting to the pink ball, as they do with the red and white balls. But he added: "I don't think we'd be going into the game if we didn't have a reasonably high level of comfort around these issues”.  

 

It also remains to be seen whether the pink leather favours fast bowlers or spinners. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon says the day-night concept is "perfect" because "batters can't see the seam”.  During trials in the Sheffield Shield in recent seasons, including on the eve of the current series against New Zealand, players have provided a variety of feedback.  Sutherland said though that "more work's gone into preparing this pink ball than any ball in the history of the game".  

 

Headline: Martinecz standing in Bangladesh Premier League. 

Article from:  Match score sheets.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 22 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1693-8336.

 

Sri Lankan umpire Ranmore Martinecz has been contracted to work in the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 competition, the third edition of which got underway on Sunday.  Just how long Martinecz, 48, who now appears to have been overlooked by the International Cricket Council as a potential member of its Elite Umpires Panel, will be in Bangladesh for the three-week long, 34-match series is not known.  He worked as the television umpire in the first game in Mirpur on Sunday and was then on-field in the second later in the day.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,694

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

 

• Keeper uses her head in classic catch assist [1694-8337].

• Caribbean’s Williams for womens’ World T20 Qualifier series [1694-8338].

• Fieldsman speared in the neck by fork-shaped stick [1694-8339].

• WICB to investigate Roseau pitch condition [1694-8340].

• ECB reports record crowds for 2015 season [1694-8341].

• ICC backs Kulkarni, Indian umpires, says BCCI ’source' [1694-8342].

• Day-night Test pitch perfect after high voltage concert [1694-8343].

• How the pink ball could change Test cricket [1694-8344].

• Will teams declare to bowl at night? [1694-8345].

• ICC to explore Olympic inclusion for cricket [1694-8346].

• CSA to speed up ‘transformation' [1694-8347].

• Fielder chases ball into middle of horse race [1694-8348].

 

Headline: Keeper uses her head in classic catch assist. 

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8337.

 

A brilliant rebound catch at short cover off wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy's head was the main talking point after the Cricket Australia (CA) Womens National Cricket League 50-over match between New South Wales and Victoria in Canberra on Sunday.   Australian captain Meg Lanning was batting for Victoria when she tried to pull a ball but got a top edge that cracked Healy, who was not wearing a helmet, on the forehead, the ball then rebounding towards fielder Lauren Smith who held on to a diving catch. 

 

Healy turned away in pain and left the field to have her head looked at by medical staff, NSW captain Alex Blackwell taking the gloves for the remaining 26 overs of Victoria's innings.   Healy though was able to later open the NSW innings and made 65 not out.  Afterwards she took to social media to let everyone know there was no serious damage as a result of the knock. NSW bowler Sarah Aley said: "Everyone was obviously really concerned for [Healy] because she did come up with quite a big egg on her head straight away”.  "It clearly didn't affect her too much; she's obviously got a very thick skull”. 

 

Healy's effort brought back memories of a catch that was taken off a bowler's head in a club match in South Australia in February 2012 (PTG 904-4393, 21 February 2012). 

 

Headline: Caribbean’s Williams for womens’ World T20 Qualifier series. 

Article from:  WICB press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8338.

 

 

West Indies umpire Jacqueline Williams has been appointed to the match officials panel for the Women’s World Twenty20 qualifier series which gets underway in Thailand on Saturday.  Roland Holder, the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) manager of cricket operations, said Jamaica’s Williams was being fast-tracked as part of a plan to have her appointed to the panel of match officials for the 2016 Women’s World Cup in India (PTG 1682-8256, 7 November 2015).   

 

Holder said that the appointment by the International Cricket Council, “along with her historic appointment to stand in the WICB Professional Cricket League first class tournament and involvement in the West Indies’ international women’s matches against Pakistan late last month, are all a part of her preparation and training””.  "The WICB has also assigned Peter Nero from [the ICC’s] International Umpires Panel to assist Jacque with the preparation process and in her development as an umpire”.  On her return from Bangkok, Williams will create history, when she becomes the first female umpire to officiate in a West Indies first class fixture (PTG 1678-8236, 2 November 2015).

 

Eight teams, Bangladesh, China, Ireland, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand and Zimbabwe, will play in this week's tournament for two places in next year’s World Cup.  The ICC has yet to release details of match officials for the event, however, the world’s most experienced female umpire, Kathy Cross of New Zealand, is also believed to have been appointed to the series.

 

Headline: Fieldsman speared in the neck by fork-shaped stick. 

Article from:  Geelong Advertiser.

Journalist: Nick Wade.                          

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8339.

 

Murgheboluc Cricket Club life member Adrian Hardman has always been one to put his neck on the line for the club, but this time he might have taken it too far.  The 352-game veteran is recovering at home after undergoing a delicate surgical procedure to remove a fork-shaped stick that speared into his neck after a desperate fielding attempt in a The Geelong Cricket Association match in south-west Victoria on Saturday.

 

The stray twig cut almost three centimetres into his neck striking dangerously close to a major artery, after his momentum sent him sprawling into a tree at the King Lloyd Reserve in suburban Geelong.  Doctors later said the stick was only one millimetre from piercing the vital blood vessel and potentially causing serious damage.  The 49-year-old will make a full recovery, but eight stitches, a drain tube to ward off infection, a temporary droop to the right and a prescribed week off work and cricket attest to his act of on-field determination in a fourth-grade match.

 

Hardman said: “I had the stick in my neck and I said, ‘is it bleeding?’ and at the time I thought ‘I’m not going to pull this one out’, I couldn’t tell if it was bleeding or shooting blood”. Quick thinking from players and a registered nurse volunteering in the canteen ensured the stick was not touched until paramedics arrived.  His teammates were quick to find the funny side, with one saying he “looked like Rudolph”.

 

Despite the incident Hardman, who has held a variety of on and off-field roles at Murgheboluc, has no plans to give up cricket any time soon, especially having found some touch with the bat.  “I was playing for two years with a cataract. I was going out all the time and it was because I couldn’t see the bloody thing”, he laughed.

 

Headline: WICB to investigate Roseau pitch condition. 

Article from:  WICB press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8340.

 

The condition of the pitch used for the West Indies’ first class match between the Windward and Leeward Islands played in the Dominica capital of Roseau last week is to be investigated by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).  The Windwards completed an eight-wicket victory inside two days at Windsor Park, the Leewards declaring their first innings before lunch on the opening day last Friday on 7/24, the Windwards then then gained a lead of 116, eventually winning outright by xxxxxx

 

WICB director of cricket Richard Pybus is gather the reports of the match referee Carlyle Felix and umpires Lennox Abraham and Zahid Bassarath, as well as captains and coaches of each team, along with officials from the Winwards franchise, regarding the preparation and performance of the pitch.  “We will speak to all of the relevant parties to get a clear picture of what took place at Windsor Park and decide on the course of action once we have reviewed all the reports,” he said.

 

Headline: ECB reports record crowds for 2015 season. 

Article from:  ECB press release.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8341.

 

Cricket has recorded its highest overall attendance figures for international and domestic matches since the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was founded 18 years ago.  An Ashes summer for men and women combined with three successful domestic competitions drew more than 2.3 million fans to matches in England and Wales.  In County cricket, more than 1.5 million people attended first class, one-day and Twenty20 matches combined and all three competitions recorded increased total attendances year-on-year.

 

International attendances were up by 75,000 on 2014, and that was despite all five Ashes Tests finishing inside four days, supported by Test and one-day series against New Zealand and sell-out women's internationals.  Key trends from 2015 included more than 560,000 fans watching England in Test matches, 193,000 in One Day Internationals and 31,000 in Twenty20 Internationals.

 

A total of 513,000 people watched County Championship matches - up from 495,000 last year.  More than 200,000 attended the 72 County one-day cup matches, an increase of around 500 per match on the previous year, while the average attendance at ECB Twenty20 fixtures rose by 800 per match, and 11 out of the 18 Counties saw their T20 attendances increase year-on-year.

 

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: "Across the summer attendances grew for each of the county competitions as well as the international games.  "We saw an inspiring series with New Zealand and an Ashes victory for England's men; an ever-higher profile and record crowds for the Women's Ashes series; ECB records for all three formats of the domestic game; and, at grassroots level, significant increases in entries for our junior cricket competitions alongside our highest levels of volunteering”.  

 

Harrison said those "figures reflect a big effort by the Counties, our international venues and partners to enhance the match-day experience, improve facilities and make our cricket grounds as fan-friendly and accessible as possible.  They are all good signs and there are big opportunities ahead. We know that there's more that can be done to draw people to watch and play cricket and further improve standards across the game”.

 

Headline: ICC backs Kulkarni, Indian umpires, says BCCI ’source'. 

Article from:  The Hindu.

Journalist: G. Viswanath.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8342.

 

That the men in white coat from India don’t seem to inspire confidence and come short of expectations is an oft-repeated opinion heard in cricketing circles in India, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) holds a completely different view of Vineet Kulkarni and Chettithody Shamshuddin who are current members of its second-tier International Umpires Panel.  Under fire for giving a few decisions that did not go down well with the home team in the Twenty20 and One Day International (ODI) series against South Africa recently (PTG 1661-8131, 13 October 2015), which led to Indian team manager Vinod Phadke being fined by the ICC (PTG 1663-8145, 16 October 2015), Kulkarni is rated highly by the ICC which awards more matches to better performing umpires (PTG 1682-8257, 7 November 2015).  

 

Pune-based Kulkarni’s statistics show he gets 95 per cent of his decisions right in international matches and he is placed high in the ICC ratings. A BCCI source said:  “The ICC feels [Kulkarni] is good and Shamshuddin impressed the ICC, and especially Chris Broad the match referee, during the ODI series against South Africa”.  That is in direct contrast to a reported claim by a “BCCI source” last month that Kulkarni’s career was on the line (PTG 1664-8152, 18 October 2015).

 

Previously, only a handful of Indians made an impression as an umpire and one among those was former India off-spinner and captain Srinivas Venkatraghavan.   He stood in 72 Test matches and 52 ODIs during an 11-year career from 1993-2004. Another umpire who according to sources, once got 98 per cent of his decisions right in the international matches he stood in was Delhi’s Krishna Hariharan, but he suffered because of a bizarre policy by the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Umpire Committee to distribute ODI matches to all and sundry.  According to a BCCI functionary, Hariharan should have officiated in more Tests than the two he was appointed to a decade ago.

 

The chances of a handful of good Indian umpires staking claim for more international matches in India and abroad was lost due to the Umpires Committee’s decision to award ODI matches to a total of 24 umpires over just a few years.  Fourteen were given just one match by the committee which in that time was headed by Delhi's C.K. Khanna, but then the ICC put in place a structure that prevented it from handing out international matches to umpires.  After an 11-year break, Khanna was nominated as chairman of the Umpires Committee at the BCCI’s Annual General Meeting two weeks ago.

 

Things have turned for the better for the Indian umpires with the BCCI hiring Simon Taufel, the five-time winner of the ICC's 'Umpire of the Year' award and until recently the world body’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager, to conduct annual seminars, clinics and program at the umpires’ academy in Nagpur.  A still unconfirmed report earlier this year suggested Taufel was paid a total of $US110,000 ($A154,800, £UK71,740) by the BCCI across 2014-15 for his services (PTG 1553-7457, 21 May 2015).

 

Headline: Day-night Test pitch perfect after high voltage concert. 

Article from:  Adelaide Advertiser.

Journalist: Richard Earle.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8343.

 

Adelaide Oval ground staff have learnt from the venue’s hard rock past with cricket officials guaranteeing a bumper surface for the inaugural day-night Test which starts on Friday.  Around 800 square metres of turf is being replaced after last Saturday’s 'AC/DC' concert at the 53,000 capacity venue which attracted some 50,000 people, curator Damian Hough knowing how to safeguard cricket’s historic Test as a result of the experience he gained from a six-day turnaround in October last year between a Rolling Stones concert and a Sheffield Shield first class fixture.

 

After the day-night Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales last month, Hough pulled out three pitches and has now brought them back in after the AC/DC concert.  “We just brought three pitches in, the outfield will be fine, you can see there has been a concert but we have replaced any turf we need to”, said Hough.  “We are safeguarding the integrity of the pitches and learnt last year from the Rolling Stones, Shield game, mix”.

 

South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) chief executive Keith Bradshaw rates Hough the top curator in the country. SACA retained total “confidence” in its staff’s ability to rehabilitate Adelaide Oval by the time fans arrive for the opening day sell-outs of the pink ball blockbuster.

 

Plastic covering was put over the turf during the AC/DC concert while aluminium roadways were laid to allow crane access to erect, and then dismantle, the AC/DC stage.  “The guys have been working pretty much since the concert finished and the turf, as expected, has pulled up really well”, said Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority general manager Darren Chandler.  “The stadium is designed as a multi-purpose facility and the technology that sits under the turf is the best in the world [and] we have got absolute confidence that the safety of the players [in the Test] will be no different to normal”.

 

Hough told The Advertiser in the lead up to the historic day-night match there had been ‘a lot of time and effort into reviewing the Test pitch.  According to him: “We have given ourselves the best chance to be successful”.

 

Headline: How the pink ball could change Test cricket. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8344.

 

Why pink?  While red balls can be dyed, pink balls, like white ones, need to be painted to produce their colour, and then coated with lacquer to preserve that colour for as long as possible.  The pink ball is a compromise between the red ball used for traditional day-only Tests and the white one used for limited-overs matches, which would be hard to see against the white clothes worn by players and umpires.  The theory is that batsmen should be able to see the pink ball through daylight, dusk and under floodlights.

 

The white ball works OK, so why is pink a big deal?  The demands on the pink ball, which has to last for at least 80 overs until a Test team is allowed to take a new one, are far greater than on a white ball. This is why the manufacturer, Kookaburra, has devoted so much development work to the fledgling ball. The current rules for one-dayers see one ball used from each end, meaning they are used for a maximum of 25 overs.

 

What does it mean for batsmen?  There are mixed views. Some believe full-pitched deliveries are harder to pick up, while some have lamented the inability to judge spin by focusing on position of the seam moves as the ball comes down to them, as they can with the red ball.  The key session is expected to be the final session; let's call it the twilight zone. For the inaugural day-night Test it will begin at 7 pm local time, with sunset due about 70 minutes into the session. The transition between fading natural light and the floodlights is reputed to be a particularly difficult period to bat.

 

And bowlers?  Some say the ball gets old quickly. That is, it swings early but quickly loses its shine and then goes dead straight. With the red ball, it's possible to buff up one side of the ball to encourage reverse swing with the older ball, but that doesn't seem as effective with the pink orb.

 

What do the players think? Again, there is no uniform position. But many feel the ball is not ready to be used in a Test, which has cherished traditions based on the deterioration of the red ball, which influences how it swings through the air and brings spinners into the match.  Former England captain Kevin Pietersen's main opposition to day-night Tests is his belief it will distort batting averages, because it will be harder to bat at night. Nevertheless there are no plans to quarantine these performances from players' overall Test records.

 

A lingering gripe with the pink ball relates to the ability for outfielders and those square of the wicket to see it clearly. There were, however, no clear examples in the weekend's WA-NZ match where fielders clearly lost sight of the ball (PTG 1693-8334, 23 November 2015).

 

What about the fans? Spectators have complained it is difficult to see the pink ball as clearly as they can see the red ball when it is used. Given the paucity of people who attend Sheffield Shield matches there has not been a groundswell of opposition. The issue will be in sharp focus this week, with a near-capacity crowd expected at Adelaide Oval for the start of the Test and healthy crowds expected throughout. If there are still problems seeing the pink ball from the stands the messages of complaint to Cricket Australia will be felt far more than the trickle of negative feedback during the day-night shield matches.

 

On the plus side, a key beneficiary of day-night Tests, should they be replicated, would be television broadcasters, because it would give them more chance to show the match in prime time in local markets, as they can for limited-overs internationals. This in turn would flow through to more lucrative broadcast deals for cricket boards the next time the rights are up for renewal. It is also envisaged it could boost attendances, especially on weekdays outside school holidays when it is often difficult for many families to go to the cricket during the day. CA is trialling in this Test discounted tickets for those who simply want to watch the final session, under lights.

 

Headline: Will teams declare to bowl at night? 

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8345.

 

One of the most seismic changes to test cricket is set to hit Adelaide Oval on Friday, when the night sessions will bring no shortage of tricks and terror.  For so long test captains have based their declarations and toss decisions on a couple of key factors: winning, weather and the pitch.  But the pink ball's capacity to swing freely and create collapses at night means the final session has become more dangerous than the first two.  It leaves Australian captain Steve Smith and his New Zealand counterpart Brendon McCullum with big decisions to make this week.

 

Smith has already shown his hand somewhat.  Captaining NSW in this season's day-night Sheffield Shield round, Smith declared at 9/262 on day one.  South Australia were 3/3 at stumps, Mitchell Starc having sent down a couple of scintillating in-swingers.  It's one thing to do this in a Shield clash and quite another to do it in a Test.  However, NZ coach Mike Hesson tipped the race to bowl at night could be a battle within the battle.  "There's definitely something to [declaring to bowl at night]”, Hesson said.  "If you think that's the best chance to take a few early wickets.  There'll definitely be some tactical plays throughout the Test”.

 

Hesson suggested the two trans-Tasman rivals were entering the unknown in many regards but not when it came to how dangerous the night would be.  NZ suffered a collapse of 4/30 on Sunday after dinner in their pink-ball, day-night tour match against Western Australia (PTG 1693-8334, 23 November 2015).  The Blackcaps' bowlers created havoc by swinging the second new ball on Saturday, WA losing 5/21.

 

Swing-induced collapses have also been a somewhat regular occurrence in day-night Sheffield Shield fixtures.  "At night with the new ball it swings - and probably more so than it does during the day”, Hesson said.  "That's been very consistent over the past couple of years with the pink ball.  Obviously things can change pretty quickly at night. That was good for us to experience.  We head to Adelaide knowing not everything but knowing enough”.

 

Hesson added the pitch would shape the game, especially when it came to the colour of the ball (PTG 1694-8343 above).  "All the talk is there'll be grass on the wicket," he said.  "Over the five days it's certainly going to dry out so [the ball] might hold its colour a lot more at the start of the Test than it will at the end.  We'll have to see the wicket ... it's not a perfect science, is it?"

 

Headline: ICC to explore Olympic inclusion for cricket. 

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8346.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) says it has had a positive meeting with officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and will explore ways to remove hurdles for the sport’s inclusion at the Summer Games (PTG 1667-8172, 21 October 2015).  ICC chief executive David Richardson and its general manager cricket Geoff Allardice met IOC chief Thomas Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland, recently to discuss the issues involved.

 

Richardson told BBC Radio it wasn’t easy to get the nod: “If the ICC is committed then we have to overcome the hurdle of the IOC accepting cricket because there are a lot of other sports that want inclusion in the 2024 Olympics”, but “at least we are talking, and we are open to the opportunity if it’s worthwhile to include cricket in Olympics".  Twenty20, the sport’s shortest format, has already been a part of the last two editions of Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in 2010, and Incheon, South Korea in 2014 (PTG 1442-6984, 5 October 2014), but efforts to be included in the Olympic program are far from being finalised.  

 

Headline: CSA to speed up ‘transformation'. 

Article from:  Independent On Line.

Journalist: Ronald Masinda.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8347.

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) is urgently ploughing more into its measures to address transformation, in light of a letter slamming the lack of changes in cricket in the country sent by black African players to the governing body’s management two weeks ago (PTG 1686-8290, 12 November 2015).   CSA general manager and former Proteas coach, Corrie van Zyl, admitted that the pace of transformation at national level was far too slow, and outlined the various measures had in place to speed up the process.

 

Van Zyl is seeking to inform people about what he was doing to ensure the sport transformed.  For close on a year, CSA has been investing in the Hubs and Regional Centres Program (HRCP) – an initiative aimed at taking the sport into areas where cricket is not played as widely as the country’s other major national sports, soccer and rugby.  That initiative involves investing in infrastructure in previously disadvantaged communities, and providing coaching and life skills training to children in those communities (PTG 1622-7911, 19 August 2015). The initiative was less about unearthing the next Makhaya Ntini, Van Zyl said, and more about ensuring development at grassroots level.

 

According to Van Zyl: “We’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that kids from previously disadvantaged areas have access to this game.  We found that in the past, schools from the townships played an average of five games per year whereas former Model C schools played 30 matches in one year. Our main focus is to close that gap”.  At CSA franchise level, transformation was taking place with teams urged to include at least six black African players in their squads and at least three in the starting XI.

 

Van Zyl admitted CSA had failed to act soon enough to address transformation at national level.  It was hoped that the Hubs and Regional Centres Program would address the perceived lack of a pool of black African talent from which to pick. But, this would be a slow process. The HRCP "is still a work in progress, but I’m sure we will achieve our objectives”.  "We’ve identified the big communities where support for the game has dwindled over the years. We have a strategic plan that we are hoping will yield good results in the next five years.  We’ve also introduced an educational programme because we not only want to make good cricketers, but also good human beings”.

 

In order to drum up support for cricket, particularly in disadvantaged communities, Van Zyl lauded franchises who “took the game to the people”.  The last time a township in Cape Town hosted a professional cricket match was in 1999, when a Western Province Invitational team played the West Indies in Langa.  It’s a far cry from what the Titans and Highveld Lions have done in Gauteng where, over the past three years, they’ve played games in Mamelodi and Soweto.

 

Van Zyl said other franchises should follow what the Highveld Lions and Titans were doing to expand the sport’s support base, particularly in areas where rugby had made in-roads.   He also agreed that the Proteas should be taking more games into disadvantaged communities, allowing residents to “see their stars up close and personal in action, in their own backyard”.  "It will be nice to see more cricket franchises play in the townships.  I think going forward, other franchises must also look to take the game to the masses.”

 

Access to the sport was another issue that needed addressing, Van Zyl said.  Ticket prices for CSA’s domestic Twenty20 series start at 60 Rand ($A6, £UK2.80)  – twice the cost of a ticket to watch a PSL match.  Attending a cricket match could also be a day-long affair, so attendees need to factor in the cost of food and drinks into their budgeting.  Transport to and from cricket stadia also needs to be accounted for, which means attending a T20 match at Newlands could set you back hundreds of rand.  This, too, Van Zyl said, would need to be addressed before the sport was adopted by the masses.

 

Headline: Fielder chases ball into middle of horse race. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Tim Ryan.                          

Published: Monday, 23 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1694-8348.

 

A game of backyard cricket bordering the Avondale Racecourse in suburban Auckland on Saturday could have ended badly for one of the participants.  It appears a wayward shot resulted in the ball soaring skywards and on to the racetrack near the 1,000 metre mark as the field jumped from the barriers for the start of the day’s race two.  Not long after, a young man, who didn't appear to be in a great rush, wandered onto the track to retrieve the ball as the field of a dozen horses flashed towards him.

 

After realising that a race was in progress he somewhat casually ducked under the inside running rail when the thundering hooves were within approximately 75 metres of him.   The course manager was made aware of the incident and after being shown film footage spoke to people at the property and a member of the course staff was then posted in the back straight for the remainder of the day.

 

Club president Alan Boyle said the club had not yet fully investigated the incident.  "I view it as something the club has to look at but at the moment it is all talk and rumour but safety requirements obviously demand an investigation”, said Boyle.  "First of all I need to sit down with the track manager and club committee member responsible for track safety and it's a bit premature to comment until that is done”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,695

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

 

• SCG given the all clear for Shield match [1695-8349].

• Bowler delivers eleven overs in 50 over match [1695-8350].

• Fourth CA-BCCI umpire exchange underway [1695-8351].

• Usual range of issues on latest WCC agenda [1695-8352].

• CA high performance chief defends state of Aussie pitches [1695-8353].

• Odisha formally complain about 'underprepared' pitch [1695-8354].

• Four-day Tests would spell the end of spin bowling: former spinner [1695-8355].

• Antarctic players stick with red ball for all-white game [1695-8356].

 

Headline: SCG given the all clear for Shield match. 

Article from:  CA web site.

Journalist: Sam Ferris.                          

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1695-8349.

 

Sheffield Shield cricket will return to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) this week after Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed the venue has returned to first-class standard.  The round two Shield match between NSW and Victoria was abandoned on day three two weeks ago after the infield and wicket square were deemed unfit for play (PTG 1683-8259, 9 November 2015).  Victoria were later awarded a full six points for the match and NSW none for the cancelled fixture (PTG 1686-8286, 12 November 2015).

 

That situation led to NSW’s following home Shield match against Tasmanian five days later moved to suburban Bankstown Oval (PTG 1684-8270, 10 November 2015), but CA Head of Cricket Operations Sean Cary, after meeting with Cricket NSW and the SCG Trust today, approved the venue to host the NSW-Queensland match which is due to start this coming Friday.  

 

Cary said: "The SCG groundsmen have worked hard over the last fortnight to improve the problem areas around the in-field and wicket square”. "We inspected the ground thoroughly today and I am confident conditions are safe for players and for cricket to return to the SCG.  "It also means the ground will available for the Sydney Sixers’ Big Bash League campaign and the traditional New Years' Test which is due to be played in early January”.

 

Following the abandoned fixture both Cricket NSW and the SCG Trust revealed plans to revise protocols for field-of-play inspections ahead of first-class and international matches, an updated post-match review process and a review of the Trust’s Australian Rules Football-to-cricket transition plan (PTG 1685-8284, 11 November 2015).

 

Headline: Bowler delivers eleven overs in 50 over match.  

Article from:  CA score sheet.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1695-8350.

 

The score sheet for Cricket Australia's (CA) Womens National Cricket League (WNCL) 50-over match between South Australia and Tasmania in Adelaide on Sunday indicates that the visitor’s off-spinner Erin Burns bowled eleven overs, one more than the ten that is allowed under WNCL Playing Conditions.  CA’s 205-16 WNCL Playing Conditions say on page 14 that “No bowler shall bowl more than 10 overs in an innings” and that “The scoreboard shall show the total number of overs bowled and the number of overs bowled by each bowler".

 

Burns, who was playing in her 29th WNCL 50-over fixture, first bowled eight straight overs, the even numbered ones from 12-26, when South Australia was at the crease, then had a ten over break before being brought back from the same end.  The second spell saw her deliver even numbered overs 36-40, her ninth, tenth, and apparently by mistake, eleventh of the innings, an addition that was apparently missed by Tasmanian captain Veronica Pyke, and South Australian umpires Cain Kemp and Luke Uthenwoldt.

 

Headline: Fourth CA-BCCI umpire exchange underway. 

Article from:  CA web site.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1695-8351.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) National Umpire Panel (NUP) member John Ward is currently in India to stand in two Ranji Trophy first class fixtures as part of the on-going umpire exchange agreement between CA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.  Ward is the fourth Australian to visit India on exchange, the first being the NUP’s Simon Fry in November 2012, he being followed by Mick Martell and Paul Wilson in October and December last year respectively (PTG 1477-7142, 8 December 2014)

 

Ward's first Ranji Trophy game is being played in Hubli between Karnataka and Delhi, his on-field partner in that game being Nitin Menon, while his second is between Tamil Nadu and Punjab starts in Chennai next Tuesday.  The two games are Ward's 63rd and 64th at first class level.  The visit to India is his third as a CA exchange, he having stood in two first class matches in New Zealand in November 2011, and another two in South Africa in February 2012.

 

To date six NUP members have been selected for exchange visits to either India, South Africa and New Zealand: Fry, Martell and now Ward to all three, Wilson to South Africa and India, Gerard Abbod to New Zealand and South Africa, and Sam Nogajksi to New Zealand.  To date Wilson has not been to New Zealand, Abood to India, and Nogajksi to South Africa and India.

 

Two so far unnamed Australian NUP members will travel to either New Zealand, for one first class game in Nelson in mid-February, and South Africa for two next February-March.  Umpires from India, New Zealand and South Africa are to travel to Australia, the Kiwi probably early next month for a single game, and those from the other two nations for two matches in February-March.

 

In more local news, Nogajski and CA Development Panel member Tony Wilds have been appointed to stand in this austral summer’s Womens National Cricket League competition final between New South Wales and South Australia which is to be played at the Hurstville Oval in Sydney next Sunday.  Steve Bernard has been appointed as the match referee for the final while the scorers will be Kay Wilcoxon and Sue Woodhouse.

 

Headline: Usual range of issues on latest WCC agenda. 

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015.

PTG listing: 1695-8352.

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) says that cricket at the Olympics, the future of Test cricket, including the continued promotion of floodlit matches, the balance between bat and ball, and issues surrounding the Laws of Cricket, including the re-draft for 2017 (PTG 1642-8036, 10 September 2015), are amongst the items on the agenda for the next meeting of its World Cricket Committee (WCC).  That gathering, which is to be held in Adelaide on Wednesday-Thursday, has been scheduled to coincide with the inaugural day-night Test match between Australia and New Zealand.  

 

The MCC says the WCC "was the first significant cricket body to champion the use of the pink ball with the intention of revitalising Test cricket around the world" (E-News 133-726, 14 November 2007).  At its last meeting, which was held at Lord’s in July, the WCC called for Twenty20 to be included in the 2024 summer Games (PTG 1592-7695, 15 July 2015), a suggestion that now appears to have some traction at International Cricket Council level (PTG 1694-8346, 24 November 2015).  

 

In terms of the bat-ball balance issue, some at the July meeting were clearly of the view that batsman are now have the ascendency over bowlers, an issue they feel is caused by modern-day bats, however, there was "no appetite” amongst the group then for reducing bat sizes, and the committee decided, as it had done in previous meetings, "to conduct further research on this matter”.  It was also agreed though that the MCC would work with the International Cricket Council on a research project to look at the size of the seam on cricket balls, and that the data collected would be presented "at a future" WCC meeting (PTG 1592-7691, 15 July 2015). 

 

July’s WCC meeting continued to push for improvements to the Umpire Decision Review System (PTG 1592-7693, 15 July 2015), and also reached the conclusion that the introduction of four-day Test matches as a means to better market and schedule Test cricket is "not the answer to current problems”, a view that is in sharp contrast to other publicity about such a concept this week (PTG 1693-8333, 23 November 2015 and PTG 1694-8355 below).    

 

The WCC is funded and administered by MCC and reports to the MCC committee. However, the MCC stresses it is, and was set up to be, an independent body. Its members, all of whom have been involved in international cricket at the top level, come from many different countries. Each person is there in his or her own right, not as a representative of other bodies.  The MCC has not indicated which members of the committee, which is chaired by former England captain Mike Brearly, will be attending the meeting in Adelaide.  It has indicated though that Keith Bradshaw, the South Australia Cricket Association's chief executive and a former MCC chief executive and secretary, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, and Wally Edwards who was until last month CA’s chairman, “will attend parts of the meeting". 

 

This week’s WCC gathering will be the second time the committee has met in Australia, it having previously come together in Perth in December 2009.

 

Headline: CA high performance chief defends state of Aussie pitches. 

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015.

PTG listing: 1695-8353.

 

Cricket Australia’s (CA) high performance chief Pat Howard admits the pitch at the WACA in Perth for the second Australia-New Zealand Test last week was too flat, however, he is adamant there is no national pitch problem.  Howard has already debriefed WACA management following the drawn second Test, in which all manner of run-scoring records were broken.

 

Howard told AAP: "They expected it to be a little bit hotter than it was and then unfortunately it didn't break up as much as they thought it was going to”.  "We'll all deal with that”.  New Zealand's coach Mike Hesson talked about "back-to-back Tests on some pretty hard surfaces" when describing the back problems being experienced by fast bowler Trent Boult, while a number of former Australian pace men have criticised the state of the pitches in both Brisbane and Perth. 

 

Howard said: "I'm not going to buy into the idea there's a significant issue here”.  "Brisbane was a good Test, it got a result”.  "Perth was obviously a flat pitch and I've spoken with the WACA”.  "Perth traditionally has been very, very good and the WACA wicket preparation has been excellent all the other years"

 

Tim Southee is the only bowler in New Zealand's current squad to be playing his third Test series in Australia, said the pitches there are "getting flatter and flatter but it's to be expected”.  "It can be like that anywhere though. You get flat wickets in England, New Zealand and the subcontinent.  You just have to get on with it ... if you get the ball in the right areas on any wicket you can be a handful”.

 

Howard rejected the notion the fast bowlers were being put at undue risk due to the state of the pitches.  "This is not new”, he said.  "Mike Hesson is probably right in terms of the conditions being difficult.  It's a tough country to bowl in. I don't think there's been a significant change.  If you go back to the South African series in 2012 ... there were lots and lots of overs bowled”.

 

Pitches were also a hot topic during the 2014-15 austral summer, when there was lamentation as to how hard it was to take 20 wickets in drawn Tests at both the Melbourne and Sydney Cricket Grounds.

 

Headline: Odisha formally complain about 'underprepared' pitch. 

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Nagraj Gollapudi.                          

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1695-8354.

 

 

After succumbing to 37 all out, their second-lowest total in the Ranji Trophy, Odisha have lodged a complaint against the pitch at the Bengal Cricket Academy ground in Kalyani. The maiden first-class fixture at the stadium saw 20 wickets fall in two days with the hosts winning by 133 runs.  Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) secretary Ashirwad Behera said the surface was "underprepared" and that team manager Subodh Chatterjee has already contacted match referee Shakti Singh about their grievances. 

 

Behera said: "You can't play a first-class match on such a wicket”.  "Our team manager has already submitted a written complaint to the match referee when Bengal were batting as some of their players were injured [due to the uneven nature of the pitch]”.   A furious Behera added that the OCA would also write to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to ensure the issue was dealt with promptly. "We are also going to write to the BCCI grounds and pitch committee head Daljit Singh. It is the first time a match has happened at Kalyani and to have such an underprepared pitch, I felt very bad”. 

 

Although Odisha managed to push past their 35 all out against Bihar in 1958-59 season, at one point they were facing the worst team score made in Ranji Trophy history - 21. Set a target of 171 in the final innings, Odisha were 7/21 . A 15-run partnership between Jayanta Behera and Dhiraj Singh for the last wicket helped push them past that ignominy, and was their highest partnership in the match.

 

Headline: Four-day Tests would spell the end of spin bowling: former spinner. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Andrew Wu.                          

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1695-8355.

 

Four-day Test matches threaten to spell the end of the spinner, cricket administrators have been warned, as the push to shorten the traditional format gathers pace (PTG 1693-8333, 23 November 2015).  Former Australian spinner Tim May is concerned about the ramifications for spin bowling and fears the move may also lead to more draws.  The idea of four-day Tests has been discussed by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee and will be on the agenda for the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee, of which May is a member, which will meet in Adelaide this week before the historic day-night Test.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) chief James Sutherland supports the concept, which would allow matches to follow the golf model of starting on a Thursday and climaxing on Sundays, when most people can watch.  One scenario would involve play being extended by 10 overs from 90 to 100 a day, making Tests a maximum of 400 overs as opposed to the current 450.

 

May, who played 24 Tests in the 1980s and '90s before becoming an influential players' representative, believes shorter Tests spell bad news for spinners.  "Let me put my old spinner's cap on, I would hate it”, May said. "If you want to spell the death of spinners, you'd have a four-day track rather than a five-day track.  The spinner's role has been diminished in the first place by the advent of reverse swing in the overs that you'd bowl spin 20 years ago.  By going from five- to four-day cricket, that would increasingly lessen the role of the spinner in the game, and that's another consideration people who will discuss [this] need to think through before they decide their solid position on that matter”.

 

The former spinner was also concerned a shorter game, combined with less deterioration of pitches, would make it easier for teams in trouble to play for stalemates. That would lead to more draws and further jeopardise the future of Test cricket.  "It'll just increase those calls as interest wanes and things that go for four days produce absolutely no result”, May said.  "Are you better off going for five days and ensuring you do get a result? While supporters will point out the benefits of it, there are negatives associated with such moves.  What outweighs each other? To make a fully informed decision rather than just a partly informed decision is the secret to producing any outcome, be it business or sport”.

 

May is also worried there are not enough sunlight hours in places such as the subcontinent to fit in the longer hours of play.  While the MCC's think tank comprises some of the biggest names in world cricket and includes ICC chief executive Dave Richardson, any decisions it makes are not binding.  For the shortening of Test matches to take place, it must go through a multi-step process at ICC level.

 

First it needs to be passed by the ICC's Cricket Committee for consideration by the Chief Executive Committee, and then passed at ICC board level. The earliest it can be put to the board will be the ICC's annual conference next June.  Former Australian Test captain Mark Taylor – a strong advocate of four-day Tests and a CA board member – is on the ICC's Cricket Committee, which is chaired by former Indian spin great Anil Kumble and includes Australian coach Darren Lehmann.  The ICC said after its 2015 meeting last May the Cricket Committee was "not of the view that Tests should be shorter than five days",  but it acknowledged the game needed to be open to proposals that enhanced the public appeal of Test cricket.

 

Headline: Antarctic players stick with red ball for all-white game. 

Article from:  ABC News.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1695-8356.

 

What colour cricket ball is best for playing in the testing conditions of Antarctica?  While the Australian cricket team prepares for the inaugural day-night Test match with a pink ball, expeditioners on the frozen continent chose to stick with the traditional red.  

 

On Saturday, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globemaster delivered bulk cargo to Wilkins Aerodrome, a compacted ice runway established by Australia’s Antarctic Program some 70 km from Casey station in Eastern Antarctica.  The plane left Hobart on Saturday morning and touched down in Antarctica about five hours later.  Once on the ground, a team of expedition and RAAF personnel quickly unloaded the cargo, but those RAAF personnel not needed for unloading put their spare time to good use.

 

It was one of those glorious days on the high plateau of Antarctica with bright blue skies, a temperature of around minus 10 degrees Celcius and winds below five knots, conditions that were perfect for a quick game of cricket.  The Aerodrome crew had worked overnight to clear a pitch on the ice runway after a blizzard the day before, producing a lively wicket with a bit of turn that favoured the visiting spinners.  No result was recorded, as the RAAF crew had to abandon the game to fly the C-17A back to Hobart.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,696

Thursday, 26 November 2015

 

• ‘Wholly acceptable reason’ takes on a new dimension [1696-8357].

• ECB considering consigning coin toss to history [1696-8358].

• Four female umpires appointed to Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier [1696-8359].

• Cricketer escapes serious injury after head blow at pink-ball training [1696-8360].

• Leewards want ‘dodgy pitch’ match with Windwards replayed [1696-8361].

• Life bans 'only answer’ for match-fixing, says Pietersen [1696-8362].

• It’s becoming easier to bat in Australia [1696-8363].

• Former skipper jumps to CA’s defence over docile Test tracks [1696-8364].

• CA formally recognises Packer's World Series Cricket [1696-8365].

• WICB to meet CARICOM's Cricket Governance Committee [1696-8366].

• Batting day and night for charity [1696-8367].

 

Headline: ‘Wholly acceptable reason’ takes on a new dimension. 

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8357.

 

Former international umpire Steve Davis has a lot of experience managing games, however, it is unlikely to have had a request from a player to leave the field because they reportedly had to breastfeed their baby.  Davis, who stood in 140 first class games, 57 of which were Tests, was the match referee for Cricket Australia’s Womens National Cricket League (WNCL) match between South Australia and Tasmania in Adelaide last Sunday, when Tasmania Emily Divin apparently asked to leave the field because she was due to feed her ten-month-old son Harry.

 

The match marked Divin’s return to the WNCL competition after a two-year break, and reports from Adelaide suggest Tasmania requested a substitute fielder and was concerned about the implications of  the WNCL’s eight-minute off-the-field rule which would impact on her ability to open the batting; however whether the latter is correct has not yet been confirmed.  Several reports suggest that Davis applied Law 2.1(b), deeming breast feeding to be a “wholly acceptable reason” to allow a substitute fielder.  

 

Before the game Divin joked about 'Daddy Day Care' being on hand in Adelaide and it being a "change of roles" as her husband Mark, a former Tasmanian List A player, travelled to Adelaide to look after Harry while she plays.  "It's the first time a baby has travelled with [the Tasmanian womens’ side] and the first time I have travelled with him for sport so it will be new and hopefully it's not too much of a distraction”.  "Fingers crossed he is a good luck charm, he has got a little [team uniform] suit so I will pack that and he can be our mascot for the week-end”.

 

When Tasmania batted in the game’s second innings, Divin went to the crease at the fall of Tasmania's fifth wicket some 140 minutes into the innings, but whether that was in relation to the time she was absent from the field is not clear; however, she has batted down the order for her state in the past.  WNCL Playing Conditions state that a "player shall not be permitted to bat unless or until, in the aggregate, she has returned to the field and/or her side’s innings has been in progress for at least that length of playing time for which she has been absent or, if earlier, when her side has lost five wickets.  They then go on to say “the restriction shall not apply if the player has suffered an external blow (as opposed to an internal injury such as a pulled muscle) whilst participating earlier in the game”.

 

During the match Davis also had to deal with the fact that Tasmanian off-spin bowler Erin Burns was inadvertently allowed to bowl eleven overs when WNCL Playing Conditions limit bowlers to a maximum of ten overs each (PTG 1695-8350, 25 November 2015).

 

Headline: ECB considering consigning coin toss to history. 

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8358.

 

One of cricket's oldest traditions could be consigned to history next year as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) considers scrapping the toss in second-division County Championship matches.  It is a proposal that will be discussed by the ECB's executive board on Thursday following a recommendation from its cricket committee.

 

An ECB spokesman confirmed that if the plan is approved by the board a one-year trial will take place during the 2016 northern summer. It will be limited to the second division of the championship and instead of a toss the away team will automatically be given the choice of deciding whether to bat first.  An ECB spokesman said the idea is based on improving pitches and encouraging spin bowlers.  The success of any trial will be closely monitored around the world, particularly at international level where home teams dominate Test series.

 

The toss has been a part of cricket since the game first evolved. It was mentioned in the first recorded laws of cricket published in 1744 when the team winning the toss would have a choice of which pitch to use and whether to bat first.  The modern practice of winning the toss to solely decide which team bats was adopted in by the early 19th century and has always been a part of County cricket since the championship was formed in 1890.

 

But as it conducts an on-going review of domestic cricket, the ECB has become convinced too many matches in the second division are decided by the toss and that has had a negative impact on the standard of cricket.  Home teams are producing result pitches to suit their own bowlers and then gambling on being able to choose to bat or bowl first.

 

It is a growing trend that has caused concern among players. One respondent to this year's survey of professional cricketers by the players' union wrote: "Pitches must be addressed. Unacceptable pitches mean games last two days, and poor bowlers take wickets easily. There must be better education for players moving up to Test cricket and more cricket lasting four days”.

 

The ECB hopes by scrapping the toss more matches will last four days and that will help the development of young spin bowlers, who often do not play a significant role until late summer.  In 2015 only 21.5 per cent of overs in the championship were bowled by spinners and in the home matches of two Division Two Counties the figure was lower than 10 per cent.  A total of 26 per cent of matches did not go into the fourth day, a time when a spinner can profit from bowling on a worn pitch.  

 

"There are a number of talented young spin bowlers in the game – sadly it is proving difficult for them to break into County first teams, in particular in first-class cricket”, said Peter Such, the ECB's lead spin-bowling coach.  "The most important factor in a player's development, particularly for spin bowlers, is match play overs to hone the skills and work out how to apply them effectively in game situations. There is no substitute for that”.

 

Editor’s note:  Four months ago Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Laws of Cricket Advisor Mark Williams told a newspaper that the MCC believes that ‘the toss’ is an integral part of a game of cricket, and that, since the Laws apply to every game at every level throughout the world, the Club is most unlikely to change the Law in dispensing with the toss (PTG 1639-8023, 7 September 2015).  Prior to that several well known players had suggested that the toss be dropped from Test matches and that the away side should choose who bats first in order to counteract any advantage the hosts could gain from preparing a favourable pitch (PTG 1636-8003, 4 September 2015).  An online poll conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday drew a total of 3,140 ‘votes’, 1,782 or 57 per cent indicating they wanted the toss scrapped, and 1,358 or 43 per cent that they wanted the current arrangement to apply.

 

Headline: Four female umpires appointed to Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier. 

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8359.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has, for the first time ever, selected four female match officials for the forthcoming Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier series to be played in Bangkok over the next week.  Experienced New Zealander Kathy Cross will be joined by Australia’s Claire Polosak, England’s Sue Redfern and West Indies’ Jacqueline Williams, for the qualifier which will see eight sides, China Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand and Zimbabwe, fight for the two available spots in the Womens’ World Twenty20 series in India next March-April.

 

Cross, Polosak, Redfern and Williams are part of an eight-member match officials group that also includes umpires Allan Haggo of Scotland and Nigel Morrison of Vanuatu and match referee Graeme Labrooy of Sri Lanka, while ICC umpire coach Denis Burns will iattend the week-long tournament to provide support and assistance.  Cross, Haggo and Morrison are members of the ICC’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel.

 

The ICC says what it calls its "trailblazing selections are a further positive step forward, and also reasserts the ICC’s commitment to, the development of the women’s game”.  It hopes "that these appointments will also inspire more women to become involved in officiating and participating in the game".

  

Cross, 58, became the first woman to be named in an ICC umpires’ panel when she was added to its third-tier Associate and Affiliate panel of umpires in 2014 (PTG 1280-6164,  31 January 2014).  She has stood at List A level and more recently in New Zealand Cricket’s senior men’s Twenty20 series (PTG 1656-8100, 5 October 2015), and before that in the Women’s World Cups of 2000, 2009 and 2013, the Women’s World Cup Qualifier in 2011 and the Women's World Twenty20 Qualifier in 2013.  In recent years she has also worked in men’s senior events including the World Cricket League Championship Divisions 3 and 5 series.

 

At 27, Australia’s Polosak, a member of her country’s senior Development Panel (PTG 1617-7871, 12 August 2015), is the youngest official at the tournament and recently made history when she was appointed as third umpire for a Cricket Australia senior men’s one-day match, the first female to officiate in a List ‘A’ fixture in Australia (PTG 1649-8068, 22 September 2015) . Commenting on her appointment, Polosak said: “Being selected to umpire at this tournament is very humbling and I am looking forward to working with, and learning lots from the other very experienced officials.  The fact that there are four female umpires at this tournament is not only special to other aspiring female cricket umpires showing there is a real pathway available, but also to anybody who has goals and wants to work hard and achieve them in any facet of their life".

 

Redfern, 38, a former England left-arm spinner who appeared in six Tests and 15 One Day Internationals from 1995-99, including featuring in the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 1997 (PTG 1599-7749, 23 July 2015). Since then she has officiated regularly throughout the non-first class arena including England and Wales Cricket Board men's Premier League games, and some Marylebone Cricket Club University two-day games.  The ICC says she will be involved in County second eleven matches during the 2016 season. Over the last few years she has undertaken local and national appointments, mostly in men’s cricket, as well as formal qualifications to be given the opportunity to officiate in Thailand.  She hopes to ultimately becoming a professional umpire.  

 

Williams, 39, recently made her international debut when she stood in One Day and Twenty20 Internationals during the Pakistan Women’s Tour of the West Indies (PTG 1694-8338, 24 November 2015).  Upon her return from Thailand, she will make history when she will become the first female umpire to officiate in the West Indies Cricket Board's ‘domestic’ first class competition (PTG 1678-8236, 2 November 2015).

 

Clare Connor, a former England captain and Chair of the ICC's Women’s Committee said: “To have four female umpires appointed [for the] Thailand [series] is a great step forward for the ICC’s overarching strategy with Members to increase the representation of women across all aspects of the game”.  “Huge strides have been taken with regards to the playing profile of women’s cricket in recent times, and it is just as important that this momentum is carried into every facet of the sport, including areas such as coaching and officiating”.  “To do this, collectively we need to make sure that we are proactively supporting and developing female officials across the world by giving them appropriate opportunities to officiate at the highest level”. 

 

Headline: Cricketer escapes serious injury after head blow at pink-ball training. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Thursday, 26 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8360.

 

An Adelaide club cricketer was examined by Cricket Australia (CA) medical staff and team officials after he was struck on the back of the head while bowling to the Australian team in their training session under floodlights on Wednesday ahead of the inaugural day-night Test.  The spinner, who plays in the city's top-level club competition, was bowling to Australian batsman Mitch Marsh with a pink ball late in the session at the Adelaide Oval, when he was struck on the back of the head after being unable to stop a powerful drive.  The impact was clearly audible even outside the nets.

 

After the blow, Marsh and nearby teammates David Warner and Steve O'Keefe promptly went to the aid of his player, who initially kept his feet but then dropped to his haunches, training in all four nets stopping while participants gauged the situation.  Australia team doctor Peter Brukner was one of the first to assist the player and led him out of the nets for examination after the blow.  The player escaped serious injury. 

 

A CA spokeswoman said he was treated for a lacerated ear, the impact of the ball cutting him.  While training in the other nets resumed once the player was led away and it was clear he was not seriously injured, Marsh did not not immediately return to the batting crease in his net, but eventually resumed batting and completed the session.

 

Headline: Leewards want ‘dodgy pitch’ match with Windwards replayed. 

Article from:  Stabroek News.

Journalist: Staff writer.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8361.

 

Leeward Islands head coach Reginald Benjamin has officially asked the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to have last weekend’s first class match against the Windward Islands to be replayed (PTG 1694-8340, 24 November 2015).  Benjamin wants the WICB to rule the match null and void after his team crashed to an eight wicket loss inside two days at Windsor Park in Dominica.  In a low-scoring contest on what appears to have been a deteriorating wicket, Leeward Islands stumbled to 7/24 before declaring their first innings, and loosing on the first innings, before lunch on the first morning.

 

Benjamin was quoted by the 'Antigua Observer' as saying he "would prefer if we play over the game and we go from there”.  “And as one of the former players, who played at the highest level asked: ‘if that was the kind of wicket they want you to play on and perform and then select you to the West Indies, then you will never be selected’; and I can agree with that comment”.  “[Rahkeem Cornwall] went in to bat and there was a ball that dropped just a normal length and hit his elbow”, said Benjamin.  "When he came out he said, ‘Coach that wicket [sic] is dangerous and nobody can play on a wicket like that’”.

 

The WICB said on Monday it would launch an investigation into the preparation of the pitch at Windsor Park, the first first class game played on the island of Dominica since tropical storm ‘Erika’ struck the island in August.  During that weather event the Windward Islands' country was battered by heavy rains which caused streets to flood and rivers to overflow, some 20 people being killed (PTG 1631-7967, 30 August 2015).  The Windwards, which won last week's game outright, were awarded 14 points from the contest and the Leewards three.

 

Headline: Life bans 'only answer’ for match-fixing, says Pietersen. 

Article from:  The Times.

Journalist: Rick Broadbent.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8362.

 

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen had a typically blunt message for cheats as cricket finds itself dragged back into the match-fixing mire with the trial of former New Zealand captain Chris Cairns expected to come to a head on Friday. “If you get caught then you should never play again”, said Pietersen.  Speaking on the eve of his global tournament for underprivileged teenagers in Dubai, Pietersen said he wants to bring his 'Sprite 24/7' tournament to Britain’s inner cities, but knows that all attempts to grow the game will crumble if people do not believe what they are seeing. 

 

Pietersen, who has rarely dealt in grey areas, believes “There should be no way back” for match fixers. “It’s the only way to get players to think, ‘Should I be doing this?’ Everyone makes mistakes, but you lose the trust of the public when a player comes back and gets labelled a cheat. I would never want to play cricket again having been caught rigging a game — not a chance”.  He says that he has often been suspicious during games. “You see it all the time.  You just have to wash it off. Players talk about deliveries bowled and dismissals after sessions. Whenever you see it you’d talk about it”.

 

The greed of match-fixers is anathema to Pietersen’s KP24 Foundation. Seven teams from around the world, including an Australian Aboriginal XI, will today begin a ten-day boot camp culminating in a Twenty20 tournament to be played in front of 10,000 spectators at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.  Pietersen’s next plan is to bring the concept to Britain because he thinks it is still seen as a sport for the upper classes. “It has to be kids who do not go on tour to Barbados with their school team; it will be for those who don’t get the chance”, Pietersen said. 

 

Headline: It’s becoming easier to bat in Australia. 

Article from:  The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8363.

 

Cricinfo statistician S. Rajesh confirms empirically what we know anecdotally with this set of figures on Test matches in Australia since 2012: in no country except for Bangladesh has it been easier to score runs. And in Bangladesh ... ahem ... you get to play Bangladesh.  Once, Rajesh points out, visiting batsmen arrived at the Gabba and the WACA in states of fear and trembling. But in the last eight Tests at those venues, fast bowlers have paid almost 37 runs a wicket, compared to less than 30 in the eight Tests before.

 

The most marked discrepancy, however, is that between Australia at home and abroad. Australia has been going at 50 runs a wicket at home since 2012, less than 30 runs a wicket in England and Asia. In the three years before that the averages had been within a couple of runs. It is natural to conjecture that the relation is inverse – that becoming lions at home has made Australian batsmen lambs away.

 

Then again, maybe Australia simply have a slightly more extreme case of a general condition, touring teams arriving everywhere in ever greater states of travel-weary, schedule-disoriented unpreparedness. New Zealand’s warm-up match for the Second Test, for example, was the First Test (PTG 1688-8305, 15 November 2015). There is also, of course, a broadbased trend to the skewing of pitches to the strengths of home teams (PTG 1696-8358 above). Aussies muttered darkly about England preparing surfaces with James Anderson and Stuart Broad in mind. It could be argued that we’re just as guilty of serving up conditions suited to Steve Smith and David Warner, and an mode-of-operation of building huge scores quickly.

 

Whatever the case, the Third Test against New Zealand, the game’s first day-night affair, looks ever more subversive, especially if the comments of Steve O’Keefe and Martin Guptill are to believed. Night Test cricket has been designed with television in mind; perhaps the pink ball will also have the serendipitous outcome of redressing the imbalance between bat and ball.

 

Headline: Former skipper jumps to CA’s defence over docile Test tracks. 

Article from:  The Australian.

Journalist: Greg Brown.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8364.

 

Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke has defended Cricket Australia (CA) for overseeing the rollout of batsmen-friendly Test wickets, arguing that the pitches here were better for the game than those produced in England during this year’s Ashes series.  CA came under criticism from former players after the Perth Test for allowing ground staff to produce docile pitches that are overly favourable for batsmen, something its high performance manager Pat Howard disagrees with (PTG 1695-8353, 25 November 2015).

 

Clarke told The Australian: “Everyone wants to see someone win, that’s what we love about sport, but you’ve got to remember you’ve got five days to win a Test match”.  “I don’t want to see Test matches over in two-and-a-half days like they were in England. I’d like to see them get into day five”.  Clarke said the flat wicket at the WACA Ground in Perth — where the first innings totals were 559 and 624 — was due primarily to the heat.  “The temperature plays a big part in how the wicket is. When you've got so much heat it’s hard for that to stay off the wicket. It hardens the pitch and makes it pretty flat”, he said.  ‘Kookaburra’ also blamed the heat for the performance of the balls used in the Test (PTG 1692-8327, 22 November 2015).

 

Clarke added that CA was “doing everything in its power” to make the game more attractive and rejected the assertion that the local Test decks had made the game boring.  “We need to make sure that we’re trying to do whatever we can to entertain the crowds that come and the people that watch on television”.  “I think the team is certainly doing that, the way they are playing and the brand of cricket they are playing is outstanding, and I think Cricket Australia is definitely trying to do that”.

 

Headline: CA formally recognises Packer's World Series Cricket. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Greg Baum.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8365.

 

Coinciding with this week's inaugural pink-ball Test match, Cricket Australia (CA) is formally recognising the pioneers of the day-night game, World Series Cricket (WSC).  CA announced on Wednesday that the records of World Series players (WSC) will be incorporated into their overall records, though in a separate column. The move ends nearly 40 years of official pretence that WSC did not happen, although most who played in it said it was the toughest cricket they ever played.

 

WSC was a rebel troupe formed by Australian media mogul Kerry Packer in 1977 as a lucrative commercial interest for him and as a vehicle to higher pay for the leading players of the time. Almost all of them signed up. For two years, they played so-called Super Tests as well as one-day cricket under lights, with white balls, in coloured clothes, at that time all unprecedented formats. Some matches were played in traditional stadiums, some at irregular venues like Waverley Park in Melbourne and the Showgrounds in Sydney. It amounted to a revolution.

 

WSC was loathed by the establishment, but at length became popular with the game's followers. WSC and the establishment warred for two years, at stadiums and in court, before negotiating a truce in which Packer's company became cricket's official broadcaster. Effectively, it still is.

 

The cricket was of a high standard. Dennis Lillee was one of several who recalled it as the hardest cricket of his career. He took 79 wickets in 24 Super Tests, which now will sit beside his 355 Test wickets. There will also be 20 more entries of "caught Marsh bowled Lillee" on the register.  Several South Africans, then banned from international cricket, played, among them Barry Richards, who averaged nearly 80 in WSC. It was the only international cricket he played outside his four Tests. 

 

The idea of embracing WSC was approved at a CA meeting last month. Among the first to learn of it, and to welcome it, were the Chappell brothers, Greg and Ian, leading lights of the time.  Immediately, a question arose about the status of a series of matches Australia payed against the Rest of the World in 1971-72, hastily arranged to replace a planned South African tour that had to be aborted because of simmering unrest about apartheid. Those matches do not have official status in the players' records.  But for now, CA is canvassing only the WSC years.

 

Headline: WICB to meet CARICOM's Cricket Governance Committee. 

Article from:  Jamaican Gleaner.

Journalist: Jermaine Lannaman.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8366.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has acceded to the call of the CARICOM Cricket Governance Committee (CGC) for an urgent meeting to discuss the state of the Caribbean game (PTG 1681-8254, 5 November 2015).  The call, which was made two weeks ago, came in the wake of the recently released CARICOM-commissioned Cricket Governance Review, which, among other things, recommended "immediate dissolution of the board and appointment of an interim board".

 

WICB president David Cameron, who announced pending changes to his organisation last week (PTG 1691-8326, 21 November 2015), said the delay in responding to the CGC’s request to meet with his board was because he "needed time to talk to the shareholders, what we would call the constituent members of the WICB, before actually meeting with [the CGC].  "If it caused any offence, I sincerely apologise … again”, said Cameron, who "would not, and have never, disrespected any leader of the region”.  "I am now scheduled to meet the [CGC] on [Friday week] in Grenada”. 

 

Cameron, who was elected head of the WICB in 2013 and re-elected earlier this year, pointed out the autonomous nature of  his organisation and the need for it to remain that way.  "The history of the WICB and its socio-economic and political connections are extremely important, and we understand its relevance to the regional psyche”.  "[However] we are a sports business organisation. An inter-national governing body [that] is largely concerned about two things, governance and autonomy".

 

"Governance has to do with the structures and accountability, and autonomy has to deal with the ability of the organisation to make its own decisions without interference”, continued Cameron.  "We need our governments, we need their support, but the decisions of the organisations [such as the WICB] should not be influenced by governments”.

 

Headline: Batting day and night for charity. 

Article from:  News24.

Journalist: Neo Kay.                          

Published: Wednesday, 25 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1696-8367.

 

Pietermaritzburg appears to have snatched a 'Guinness World Record' on Saturday after a 27-hour non-stop game of cricket played at the Midlands arena in Mkondeni, the ‘match starting at 10 a.m. on Friday and finishing at 1 p.m. on Saturday.  Player Garth Borain said his team had taken up the challenge to beat the record set by a Benoni team two years ago in order to raise money for charities in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province. The previous match record had been 25 hours and nine minutes. 

 

Borain said the support for the team on Saturday had been “fantastic” and on Friday afternoon alone over 20,000 Rand ($A1,960, £UK945) had been raised.  “We are all very tired”, but the team was thankful for all the donations and support received. The main sponsors of the even was a fast food chicken outlet of United State origin, although the team were also given donations from various other businesses and organisations. Official confirmation of the record is expected to be announced before Christmas.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,697

Friday, 27 November 2015

 

• Work continuing on umpire helmets, chest guards [1697-8368].

• NZ eying pink ball, day-night Plunket games, home day-night Test [1697-8369].

• BCCI-ICC chief Manohar criticises 'Big Three’ revamp [1697-8370].

• Call for draws to be dumped from Test and first-class matches [1697-8371].

• Pink ball gamble needs to work for Test format's survival [1697-8372].

• Please don't scrap the coin toss from cricket [1697-8373].

• Toss changes will not produce more turning wickets, says Essex chairman [1697-8374].

• Post toss disagreement over playing XI leads to dispute [1697-8375].

 

Headline: Work continuing on umpire helmets, chest guards.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Thursday, 26 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1697-8368.

 

Testing of the suitability of baseball-style masks for umpires has begun and discussions have opened between baseball and cricket authorities about future safety equipment after England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) umpires raised concerns over safety issues.  With modern powerful bats and Twenty20 cricket promoting attacking strokeplay, umpires have said they feel vulnerable when standing at the non-striker's end and at square leg (PTG 1635-7999, 3 September 2015).  Three months ago senior umpires in England were reported to be looking at the use of baseball catcher's helmets, chest pads and shin guards (PTG 1631-7965, 30 August 2015).

 

In the assessment of Angus Porter, chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association: "There is no separate identified solution for umpires at the moment.  They have looked at the face mask in baseball used by umpires in that game who stand behind the catcher. They have been tried and found not wholly fit for the purpose of standing for seven hours at the stumps. But we do need to look at a lightweight version of face protection and there has been something developed for baseball pitchers.  There have been conversations of interest by people in cricket [with baseball] to develop new equipment. It is not to say you can carry across the solution from one sport or another but it is good to share ideas”.

 

Porter emphasised though "it is not just the head” and “umpires could [also] wear chest protection”.  "It is not out of the question that umpires could in some way have a shield to protect them, which sounds bizarre and as if we are trying to present exotic solutions, but we just have to think about what is practical to do.  It is important we don't try to magic up solutions overnight when none are available”.  Last month ECB Full List umpire Rob Bailey said: "A lot of people are in danger. Bats are massive now and are only going to become more powerful and the ball is pinging off them” (PTG 1685-8283, 11 November 2015).

 

While solutions for umpires are one thing, the ECB is reported to be mulling new rules making the wearing of helmets mandatory for players on its professional circuit.  The proposals  involved are for batsmen to wear helmets when facing all types of bowling and also close-in fielders, including the wicketkeeper, within an eight-metre radius of the bat, except when fielding behind square on the on side.  This means the sight of slip fielders wearing helmets to spin bowlers could become a common one in County cricket.  Batsmen will also be told they have to wear helmets in the nets as will coaches giving throwdowns at close quarters, the latter situation producing a broken collarbone earlier this month (PTG 1688-8301, 15 November 2015) 

 

Porter pointed out that "We have had bad injuries in the past with players facing bowling machines in the nets” and the use of helmets by coaches throwing balls in specifically designed situations could prevent injuries when the batsmen they are throwing to "are trying to hit the ball back in full blooded way”.  Twelve months ago next week, former Israel cricket captain Hillel Oscar died after being struck by a ball hit by a batsman while umpiring a national league game in Israel (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014).  

 

Headline: NZ eying pink ball, day-night Plunket games, home day-night Test. 

Article from:  Dominion Post.

Journalist: Mark Geenty.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1697-8369.

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is joining the pink ball day-night revolution and hopes to introduce it to its Plunket Shield first class competition in late February with an eye to staging the country's first day-night Test against Bangladesh next December.  NZC chief executive David White, in Adelaide for Friday's inaugural day-night Test, confirmed plans were under way for a round of day-night Plunket Shield matches, and if they go ahead it will be the first time the pink ball has been used in a first-class match in New Zealand.

 

White said: "We're very interested in seeing how it [Adelaide] goes. We're optimistic and possibly looking to introduce a round into the Plunket Shield. We've had some discussions”.  Auckland's Eden Park, Hamilton's Seddon Park and Napier's McLean Park would all be contenders to host the first New Zealand day-night Test. All three are scheduled to stage four-day Plunket Shield matches from February 20-23, with Auckland hosting Otago, Northern Districts hosting Canterbury and Central Districts hosting Wellington.  NZC's head of cricket Lindsay Crocker said those pairings: "sit quite nicely with three home teams having lit venues. We've identified that as a round that, should this [Adelaide] match go successfully and we're satisfied that we can try it, then we would [go ahead]”.

 

Safely through that then Bangladesh's two-Test tour in December 2016 has been earmarked as the most likely starting point in a Test, although talks haven't yet begun. Three touring teams are scheduled for seven tests in New Zealand during the 2016-17 austral summer: Pakistan with two in November, Bangladesh two in December, and South Africa three in February-March.  November is seen as too soon for day-night cricket in New Zealand and March too late in the season, with colder weather and dew both factors to take into account.

 

Crocker said: "We think probably the best one to try it would be Bangladesh in December.  November is a little early so that December series could potentially be one. But we haven't discussed that with them yet”.  Venues would get the opportunity to bid to stage the Test.  Hamilton would be a strong contender having hosted the three-day pink ball trial last month and Seddon Park's turf manager Karl Johnson is in Adelaide to talk with his counterparts and observe how they prepare the ground.

 

White though didn't see pink ball Tests taking over from the traditional red ones in New Zealand, but they were a realistic option outside the holiday period in mid-December when people were still at work. The day-night Test concept is primarily to spark crowd and viewer interest in the traditional format which is fading (PTG 1692-8332, 22 November 2015).  "In the debate around the ICC chief executives' table there has been a lot of interest. Everyone acknowledges that outside of England and Australia it's been a challenge for Test crowds and is certainly a concept that people are very receptive to”, White said.

 

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said his players had come around to the idea after being initially sceptical. The prospect of a day one crowd of 40,000-plus in the 50,000-capacity Adelaide Oval on Friday added to the excitement.  "People are voting with their feet that they're encouraged by what the pink ball Test match has to offer. For us to play in front of 40,000-odd people in a Test match is pretty amazing and we're really, really excited about it. Hopefully it goes off brilliantly and there's no challenges and no problems”, McCullum said.  "If we have that final session on that fifth day under lights and a result is in the balance then it could be anything for Test cricket. It could be something that is outstanding for the game. We'll find out once the game's over but we're relishing the opportunity to test it out”.

 

Headline: BCCI-ICC chief Manohar criticises 'Big Three’ revamp. 

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 26 November 2015 .  

PTG listing: 1697-8370.

 

Shashank Manohar, the new chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and now  also the chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 1684-8271, 10 November 2015), has criticised the imbalance of power within cricket's governing body because of the constitutional revamp last year, which gave the boards of India, England and Australia greater authority and a larger share of the revenue.  Manohar called the revamp "bullying", and said there were several faults in the ICC that he hoped to rectify during his term as chairman, which ends in June next year.

 

Manohar told ‘The Hindu’: "I have always said an institution is bigger than individuals. The ICC constitution, as it stands today, says that in all the major committees of the ICC, [India, England and Australia] will be automatically there. So all the financial and commercial aspects and the executive committee will be controlled by the representatives of these three countries, which according to me is wrong. You should have the best man, whether he comes from Zimbabwe, or West Indies, or even from an associate or affiliate [ICC member] to work on a committee, who will promote the interests of the ICC”.

 

Manohar was in Dubai last week to get acquainted with the ICC's functioning after the BCCI named him its representative to replace Narayanaswami Srinivasan who had became the ICC’s inaugural chairman last July.  Srinivasan had been the main architect behind the Big Three plan, which was passed by the ICC board last February. When asked whether he would propose to other ICC board members to revoke the decisions taken last year, Manohar said he was speaking in his individual capacity and not as ICC. "I don't agree with that in principle. I am talking about myself. I don't know what will happen in the future”.

 

Under the revamped governance structure, while the BCCI president became ICC chairman, the Cricket Australia (CA) chairman heads the five-member executive committee, and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) president the ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs (FCA) committee, an arrangement that makes sure the three boards had control over major policy decisions.

 

In January last year, a FCA committee "working group" comprising Srinivasan, the ECB’s Giles Clarke and CA’s Wally Edwards had presented the draft of their radical revamp to the rest of the ICC board. Central to the draft was the revenue distribution model, which was reworked to give the BCCI, ECB and CA a graded percentage share of ICC revenue, with a larger chunk going to these three boards than the rest.

 

Manohar also said he was opposed to the revenue-sharing formula set up by the Big Three. "I don't agree with the revenue-sharing formula, because it's nice to say that the BCCI will get 22 per cent of the total revenue of the ICC, but you cannot make the poor poorer and the rich richer, only because you have the clout. The ICC runs cricket throughout the world.  "Secondly there is another angle to it which nobody has thought of. India generates money because the other countries come and play in India. If you do not have a fierce competition, the broadcasters are not going to pay you and the sponsors are not going to sponsor your events. So whatever you generate through bilateral series is because there are good teams playing against you.

 

Manohar also expressed dissatisfaction at the possibility of conflict of interest because of the dual roles held by officials - at the ICC and at their home board. "According to me there is a conflict now at the ICC level, which I have to sort out. Under the present ICC constitution the chairmanship is offered to the representative of the BCCI. Under the ICC constitution, after the annual conference, there is going to be an election and the person who is elected the chairman will continue only till the time he continues to be the representative of his country.

 

"So tomorrow here could be a scenario, wherein 'A' person is elected the chairman and after 10 days he is removed by his board, 'B' would take over as the chairman, and after four months that person is removed, 'C' would take over as chairman. When people vote, they vote for an individual; they don't vote for a member board. It's the competence of a person to lead the ICC is important, and keeping that in mind, people vote for him. According to me that clause is also a bad clause".

 

"Secondly when I am at the ICC as a BCCI representative, it's my paramount duty to protect the interests of the BCCI; then how can I protect the interests of the ICC, sitting as its chairman? If there is a conflict between the interest of the BCCI and the ICC, I will have to protect the interest of the BCCI. Then I am failing in my duty, sitting there as chairman of the ICC and not protecting its interest”.

 

"So according to me there are many flaws in the ICC constitution, which was amended, because earlier the president's post was occupied by a person who had nothing to do with any board. The first requirement was he had to resign from his home board from all positions; with the result that he was not attending the ICC meetings as a representative of a member board. David Morgan, [Sharad] Pawar, Alan Issac, they resigned from their offices to sit as ICC presidents. This is a unique situation which has been created because of the amendment which creates, according to me, a direct conflict”.  Manohar said he had already raised all these issues with [the ECB’s] Clarke and other senior ranking ICC officials, and “[Clarke] agreed with me”.

 

Headline: Call for draws to be dumped from Test and first-class matches. 

Article from:  ABC News.

Journalist: Garrett Mundy.                          

Published: Thursday, 26 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1697-8371.

 

Former Australian player Justin Langer says the sport's governing bodies should consider the place of the draw in the international game. Langer, now the West Australian coach, said eliminating the draw was one of several issues that needed to be examined as the sport continued to seek new audiences.

 

Speaking in Perth, the former left-handed opening batsman said he had been contemplating the place of the draw for several months. "In one way it's one of the intricacies of our game that you have a draw.  But a lot of people who don't watch the game wonder how you play for five days and not get a result. They just don't get it. Usually sport's about winning or losing. It's not about drawing.  Having said that we've seen some of the great, most exciting days of Test cricket when someone's had to hang on for a draw”.

 

Langer, 45, did not have to worry about draws too often in his 14-year Test career.  However he said he felt the draw in first-class and Test cricket had passed its use-by date, and suggested a better system could be found.  "Like a heavyweight, or a boxing fight, if it's a draw then the referee makes a decision at the end of it who wins.  And there'll be some controversy about that, but there's been plenty of boxing controversies over the years as well. They get it right most of the time.  It's like you have a split decision in a boxing fight. It's just something to think about”.

 

Langer cited last week's Sheffield Shield match between his side and Victoria in Melbourne that ended in a draw with WA holding off the Victorian attack on the last day.  "If we had to get 380 and we knew we had to win the game, and there's going to be a result one way or the other, we might have taken a different approach to it.  Or we might not have, because we knew overall we'd played the better cricket besides one session”.  He conceded the drawn result had been just as good as a win for his young side.  "But in a perfect would you play sport to win or lose, don't you”, he said.

 

Headline: Pink ball gamble needs to work for Test format's survival. 

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Scyld Berry.                          

Published: Thursday, 26 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1697-8372.

 

It will be the biggest innovation in the 138 years of Test cricket when the umpire calls “play” on Friday afternoon in Adelaide and Australia’s Mitchell Starc, or New Zealand’s Trent Boult or Tim Southee, runs in to deliver a pink ball in a match that will go on until 9 pm.   These twin novelties – of pink ball and floodlit Test cricket – are likely to prove a hit in Adelaide, as it is the perfect venue for this experiment. The question is whether they will be sufficient to regenerate Test cricket worldwide – whether the pink ball, unlike wine, can prove as popular as red or white – once the novelty has worn off (PTG 1684-8276, 10 November 2015). 

 

Adelaide is the perfect venue because it is no more than five minutes’ walk from the central business district. What could be better after finishing work on a warm South Australian evening than to cross one of the bridges across the River Torrens to the Oval, crack open a bottle of Barossa wine, and watch the final session of the third Test from 7pm?  Television audience figures in Australia’s eastern states will be up, too. Test cricket has hitherto been content with an affluent middle‑class audience of those who can take time off work or are retired. Those who have to work for a living, and schoolchildren, will now be able to switch on and see their national team live outside weekends. 

 

It is an experiment which has to be tried. Test cricket outside England, even by the most optimistic assessment, is atrophying. The Marylebone Cricket Club's campaign to introduce day-night Tests and the pink ball has been a way for the club to revive its role as a mover and shaker, but it does accord with the need for some drastic action.  If traditionalists object, the counter-argument can be made that there is no uniformity in the make of ball used in Test cricket. England and West Indies use ‘Dukes', India the ‘SG' ball, and Australia ‘Kookaburras'. So if different makes are allowed, why not different colours? 

 

The sanctity of Test cricket will be offered as another objection if the pink ball hops round corners of an evening and teams are dismissed for 50. But this sanctity was violated when the International Cricket Council classified a game between Australia and the Rest of the World in 2005 as a Test, and when statisticians ranked friendly fixtures between English touring teams and South Africa in the 1890s as Tests, and when Bangladesh were invariably wiped out, before they became tigerish. 

 

There is also a lot to be said for the pink ball, provided it stays pink. The earliest manufacturers of cricket balls in the 18th century made them red because that was one of the very few natural dyes to hand – artificial dyes were not invented until the mid-Victorian era. On a murky day in England an ageing red ball is far from being the most visible colour, which is surely the object of the exercise. 

 

For seven years the pink ball has proved its effectiveness in England in the Lord’s Taverners City Cup competition: it is highly visible whether sightscreens are black or white or unavailable, by day or at dusk, and it has something for everyone in a 20-over game. The question this week is whether the pink Kookaburra ball will stay pink, and visible, and hard.  To this end, Adelaide’s curator Damian Hough has left far more grass than usual on his drop-in pitch, minimising the abrasiveness which will remove the paint. This grass will make batting more difficult than it has traditionally been at Adelaide, whatever the pink ball’s visibility. The limited anecdotal evidence from batsmen who have played under lights is that reading a spin bowler is also trickier: the seams of the pink ball are less visible, and thus the rotations.

 

Experiments with day-night cricket and pink balls have still been so few that no consensus about the differences has yet emerged – beyond that starting an innings at dusk seems to be harder than normal. In one of the three rounds of Sheffield Shield matches that have been staged under lights this season, South Australia had three overs of batting before the close on day one in Adelaide, and lost three prime wickets, with the pink ball “bending around corners on a muggy evening” according to Cricinfo. So there will be extra apprehension when the players take the field for the final session each evening. 

 

Other factors could scupper this experiment. Dew is possible – and who knows whether it will hamper batsmen or bowlers or fielders more. Other Test grounds will have less powerful floodlights than Adelaide, which was renovated to stage Australian Rules Football as much as cricket. It may take only one ball to burst through the hands of a deep square-leg fielder, striving to pick it up in semi-darkness on the edge of the playing area, for the idea to be shelved at that particular venue. 

 

But if the day-night experiment succeeds this weekend, it will soon be tried in Asia’s Test countries; the West Indies should also be well suited; and New Zealand’s North Island if not South (PTG 1697-6369 above). But not England: floodlit cricket is almost synonymous with frostbite and Colin Graves, the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, has ruled out any imminent prospect of giving it a go. England v Sri Lanka at Headingley and Durham next May will be chilly enough. 

 

But it is asking a lot of pink balls and floodlights to popularise Test cricket in the long term. The ICC announced a World Test Championship in England in 2013, and again in 2017, to give the format a context which supporters could understand – and failed to follow it up. A two-Test series like that last month between Sri Lanka and West Indies is going to be low key, or purist, or whatever euphemism you prefer for barely noticed, whatever the ball’s colour and whether it is staged by day or night. 

 

The best-case scenario for the pink ball is that it will play just like red or white, but prove more visible, and come to be accepted in every format. Balls are being hit harder and harder back at non-strikers and umpires and bowlers in their follow-through, by ever thicker bats and stronger batsmen, and if one serious or even fatal injury is prevented by this innovation, then we should recognise – on the first anniversary of Phil Hughes’s death – that it will be worthwhile. 

 

Headline: Please don't scrap the coin toss from cricket. 

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Allan Massie.                          

Published: Thursday, 26 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1697-8373.

 

The toss of a coin is the preliminary to action in many sports. In most of them, making the right call rarely matters – but in cricket it usually does. Weather conditions may change. The pitch may deteriorate, or get better for batting. The home captain tosses, the visiting one calls, and W G Grace is said to have called out “The Lady”. With Queen Victoria on one side, Britannia on the other, he won no matter which face of the coin was uppermost. 

 

But reluctant to leave things as they are, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is proposing to conduct an experiment in the second division of the County championship next season. They will do away with the toss (PTG 1696-8358, 26 November 2015).  Never mind that the coin flipping has been part of the Laws of Cricket since 1744; never mind that traditionalists will be frothing at the mouth. The ostensible reason is that Counties have been preparing wickets to suit their own team. No doubt they have – just as Test match wickets are seldom prepared to favour the visitors’ attack. 

 

It is also said that the change is to encourage clubs to develop spin bowlers (PTG 1697-8374 below). Yet everyone knows why there are so few good spinners today: because so much of the season is crammed into April, May and September, when wickets are often green, when there is cloud cover, and when the quicker bowlers can do the job. Spin has also been in decline ever since the authorities legislated for the covering of pitches. In the days before covers, every County carried two spin-bowlers, because sun on a drying pitch after rain was spinners’ heaven. 

 

However specious the reasoning is, the experiment may be interesting. To give the visiting captain the choice of batting or fielding first may sometimes give his team an advantage. But it won’t change his preparations. He will still have to consult the weather forecast for the four days of the match. He will still scrutinise the wicket – and take advice from his senior batsmen and bowlers. He will make his decision and may still be disturbed if the home captain indicates that it suits him fine. 

 

Because even though giving the visiting captain first choice should tilt the balance in his favour, he may still misread the entrails and get it wrong. The weatherman may have called it wrongly. In any case, even the best-considered decision may be made to look stupid by the operation of chance, with or without the luck that the toss of the coin brings. 

For chance plays a key part in all sport. Think, for instance, of the influence of a net-cord at set point in tennis, or the bounce of a well-struck drive taking a sideways leap off a ridge on the fairway into deep rough in golf. Think of a loose horse impeding the favourite and causing him to crash into an Aintree fence, or a footballer slipping as he is about to take a penalty. 

 

Success or failure in cricket will often be decided by the tiniest of margins. A ball grazes the bat and you’re out for a duck. It misses the edge by a millimetre and you go on to make a century. In sport, as in life, chance upsets apple-carts or brings scarcely deserved rewards. Even a lucky dip may win the Lottery.  Whatever you do, you simply can’t take chance out of cricket. So why try? In short, the proposal to dispense with the toss is bonkers. As the true Conservative adage has it: “When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change”. 

 

Headline: Toss changes will not produce more turning wickets, says Essex chairman. 

Article from:  The Guardian.

Journalist: Ali Martin.                          

Published: Thursday, 26 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1697-8374.

 

Ronnie Irani, cricket chairman at Essex, has warned that proposed changes to the toss in Division Two County matches next summer will not necessarily counter the challenges faced by groundsmen in producing better, more spin-friendly pitches.  The England and Wales Cricket Board is considering a proposal that would see the away captain in next season’s second tier fixtures given the option to bowl first, with the toss to take place should he decide against it.

 

The theory behind the move, which would begin with a season-long trial, is that home sides will be less likely to prepare grassy pitches that seam from the outset knowing their opponents can have first use, meaning games should last longer and therefore spin should come into the equation as they progress.  County pitches, especially those in Division Two, have become a longstanding concern for the ECB, with the belief that green-tops are providing too much assistance to medium-pacers, thus reducing the need for out-and-out fast bowlers, marginalising spinners and leaving batsmen ill-equipped when they make the step up to international level.

 

Essex are often cited as an example of a team who have relied on such surfaces in recent seasons, with the all-rounder Jesse Ryder, who took 44 wickets for them last summer, recently named by the former England head coach and current ECB technical director of elite coaching, Andy Flower, as one such “dibbly-dobbly” county bowler.  Irani, who took over as cricket committee chairman at Chelmsford last summer, believes that while a drive to promote more spin-bowling in English domestic cricket is laudable, the proposed change to the toss may not necessarily mean pitches will turn more.

 

Asked why the names of Ryder and his fellow Essex medium-pacer David Masters are often brought up in the debate about County pitches, Irani replied: “I don’t know, anyone would think we have been winning the title for the past 10 years. It’s not like top players come to Chelmsford and don’t score runs”.  “If the ECB want to encourage spin they can direct the groundsmen to do so, but there’s no magic wand. And the counties do set out to produce the best pitches they possibly can – our job is to produce international players – but conditions do have an impact; the ball swings through the air too".

 

“I’m all for encouraging more spin but you can’t just expect it to happen by taking the grass off the pitch because the soil underneath doesn’t crumble; it is rock hard in England, not like the subcontinent or the UAE where the heat bakes it. We could end up with county pitches that are just flat and docile.”

 

Headline: Post toss disagreement over playing XI leads to dispute. 

Article from:  Dhaka Tribune.

Journalist: Minhaz Uddin Khan .                          

Published: Thursday, 26 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1697-8375.

 

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hasan says the Bangladesh Premier League's (BPL) Sylhet Super Stars side were wrong to try and field a different playing XI than the one they submitted at the toss for their opening game of the BPL’s 2015 series against the Chittagong Vikings in Dhaka on Monday.  The third edition of the money-spinning tournament, which got underway last Sunday, began in controversy when Chittagong, Sylhet and BPL governing council members became embroiled in a heated conversation after Sylhet tried to breach playing conditions.

 

Prior to the toss Sylhet had not received No Objection Certificates (NOC) for English players Ravi Bopara and Joshua Cobb and thus did not name them in the team list they provided at the toss.  However, when the NOCs arrived following the toss Sylhet, who chose to field after winning the coin spin, then tried to include the two Englishmen in their side, but Chittagong captain Tamim Iqbal did not agree with the change.  Chittagong then refused to take the field and the situation took a turn for the worse after Iqbal was verbally abused by Sylhet franchise owner Azizul Islam.

 

BCB president Nazmul told the media: “We were hoping these kind of [disagreements] from the past would not re-emerge. What happened with Tamim is really unfortunate [but] the issue regarding team sheets is a basic rule, you cannot change the playing XI once it is submitted unless the opposing captain agrees”.   “We have received a written complaint from Tamim, however, this incident should never have happened given that [under security arrangements for the match] the owner of one team is not supposed to meet the captain of the other team in the field” and as a result "an investigation” is underway into the incident.  

 

Nazmul indicated Sylhet informed the BCB that there was trouble with their NOCs but that was nothing to do with the board.  “We had the option of giving a walk-over to Chittagong [when the trouble erupted] but then again, that would have hurt the BPL in many ways". 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,698

Saturday, 28 November 2015

 

• ECB scrap mandatory coin toss in all County championship games [1698-8376].

• New helmet safety measures introduced by ECB [1698-8377].

• BPL skipper fined, banned, for on-field behaviour [1698-8378].

• Five players, team manager, censured by WICB [1698-8379].

• WA bowler handed one match suspension for ‘dissent' [1698-8380].

• Australian masseur doubles up as substitute fielder [1698-8381].

• Cairns’ trial grinds on [1698-8382].

 

Headline: ECB scrap mandatory coin toss in all County championship games.

Article from:  Various media.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1698-8376.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has scrapped the mandatory coin toss in both Division one and two County Championship games during its 2016 season, a move that is aimed at encouraging better pitches for four-day cricket.  Under the new arrangement the visiting captain will be offered the opportunity of bowling first, and if he declines the toss will take place as normal, but if he decides to bowl first there will be no toss.  Reports earlier this week indicated the change would only apply to division two games (PTG 1696-8358, 26 November 2015). 

 

The recommendation came from the ECB's cricket committee, which includes ECB chief executive Tom Harrison, England team director Andrew Strauss and former England coach Andy Flower.  The committee's chairman, Peter Wright, indicated the move was partly motivated about concern over the development of English spin bowlers.  "Figures showing spinners bowled only 21.5 per cent of the overs in the 2015 County season and we have come to the conclusion that the only way to bring spin bowlers more into the game is to provide better pitches for them to bowl on”.  Wright said a decision on whether to extend the trial would be taken at the end of the 2016 season.  

 

England's limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan says the move may benefit the game long-term.  "If it's to improve the standard of wickets that we play on, and potentially produce a couple of wickets where spin might be conducive to that particular ground, I think absolutely [its a good move]”, he said.  "The benefit in County cricket might not be at the very beginning, but potentially for younger guys coming through - they'll develop different skills which will in turn give them a greater base, if they do get picked for England, to play around the world and do it successfully”.

 

But Andrew Gale, captain of County Champions Yorkshire, described the decision as "absolute madness".  He added on social media: "If the pitches are bad, why have no points been deducted in past few seasons?”  Gale’s Yorkshire team-mate Jack Brooks, who also disagrees with the decision, responded to his skipper’s comments by tweeting back to him: “You rarely win a toss anyway!”

 

Headline: New helmet safety measures introduced by ECB.

Article from:  Various media.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1698-8377.

 

New helmet safety measures that are designed to reduce the risk of head injuries within the game have been agreed to by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  As a result all male and female players in ECB fixtures will be required to use helmets when batting.  In addition, wicketkeepers standing up to the stumps and fielders closer than eight yards to the batsman's middle stump, except behind the wicket on the off side, will also have to wear helmets (PTG 1697-8368, 27 November 2015).  Similar playing conditions have applied in youth matches in a number of parts of the cricketing world in recent years. 

 

The recommendations followed a joint review by the ECB and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), and were designed to reduce the risk of head and facial injuries within the game, although nothing new has been introduced to better protect umpires (PTG 1697-6368, 27 November 2015) .  Last June The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), or player’s union, which the PCA is affiliated with, released a paper with pointed to the risks professional players face in playing the game (PTG 1570-7547, 18 June 2015).

 

Headline: BPL skipper fined, banned, for on-field behaviour.

Article from:  bdnews24.com.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1698-8378.

 

Shakib Al Hasan, the captain of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) side Rangpur Riders, has been given a one-match ban and fined 20,000 Takka ($A360, £UK170) for his behaviour during Thursday's match against the Sylhet Superstars at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur.  The Bangladesh Cricket Board said via a media statement that the captain had acted inappropriately on two occasions when his side were in the field, on-field umpires Sharfuddoula and Tanvir Ahmed reporting him for ‘using abusive language’.

 

The first incident came after Superstars' batsman Dilshan Munaweera was dismissed in the fourth over of Sylhet’s innings.  Then in the 13th over bowler Thisara Perera and close-in fielders appealed loudly for caught behind against Mushfiqur Rahim.  The appeal was turned down and Shakib is said to have then walked up to the umpire and directed 'offensive and abusive language' towards him in what was clearly a heated conversation. 

 

Match referee Selim Shahed imposed the fine after the player pleaded guilty to the offence and as a result Shakib will not be playing in the Riders' game against Comilla Victorians on Friday.  Asked to comment on the incident after the match, Shakib, who was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his allround performance, said, "These things happen. I really don't want to talk about it”.  

 

Shakib was suspended by the BCB for six months last year for a "severe attitude problem" (PTG 1388-6716, 8 July 2014), although the punishment was later reduced after he apologised (PTG 1475-7135, 5 December 2014).  He also received a three-match ban in 2014 after making a lewd gesture towards a cameraman during a One Day International against Sri Lanka (PTG 1297-6258, 23 February 2014).

 

Headline: Five players, team manager, censured by WICB.

Article from:  The Star.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1698-8379.

 

Five players and a team manger have been penalised by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) following the third round of matches in tits Professional Cricket League first class competition which ended on Monday.  Players Jonathan Carter of Barbados, Steven Katwaroo and Imran Khan of Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, and Steve Liburd and Sherwin Peters of the Leeward Islands, and Barbados’ team manager Wendell Coppin, all received censures.

 

Carter was fined 15 per cent of his match fee after he angrily slammed his bat into a water cooler and the dressing room door in the full public view, when he left the field following his dismissal in his side's second innings against Guyana in Georgetown.  The same match also saw Coppin fined 65 per cent of his match fee for his comments carried in a Barbadian newspaper article and on a Barbadian radio station which questioned the decision-making ability of umpires Chris Taylor and Nandkumar Shivsankar in the match.

 

In Port-of-Spain in the game against Jamaica, Katwaroo lost 10 per cent of his match fee for bringing the game into disrepute by pointing at his elbow and deliberately trying to influence the umpire's decision after an appeal for caught whilst he was batting.  Khan was reprimanded and warned for his actions when an appeal for caught behind was turned down. The leg-spinner proceeded to question the umpire's decision, saying "Umps" and showing the signal that is used when the umpire's decision review protocol is in place.

 

Liburd was also fined 10 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire's decision in Roseau, Dominica (PTG 1696-8361, 26 November 2015).  On being given out LBW he let out a "loud roar" in obvious disappointment with the umpire's decision.  Peters was reprimanded and warned for conduct contrary to the spirit of the game for slamming his bat against a wall in the presence of reserve umpire Carlyle Felix when he was returning to the dressing room after being given out.

 

Headline: WA bowler handed one match suspension for ‘dissent'.

Article from:  Various reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1698-8380.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) suspended fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile from playing in Western Australia's (WA) Sheffield Shield match against Victoria which started at the WACA Ground in Perth on Friday.  Coulter-Nile was reported on Tuesday for "showing dissent at an umpire's decision" during WA's first innings in the field in a state second XI Futures League match against Queensland in Perth.

 

Given it was the 28-year-old's second Level One Code of Behaviour offence in 18 months (PTG 1664-8151, 18 October 2015), match referee Matthew Hall offered him a proposed sanction of two suspension points, which had the effect of suspending him from playing in WA's next Sheffield Shield match.  The right-armer disputed the proposed sanction and a disciplinary hearing was conducted on Wednesday. After the hearing, the match referee determined that the proposed sanction of two suspension points should be upheld.

 

Coulter-Nile chose to appeal that decision and CA Code of Behaviour commissioner Glen Williams heard the appeal on Thursday, eventually dismissing the player’s submission and confirming the original sanction. 

 

Headline: Australian masseur doubles up as substitute fielder.

Article from:  Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 28 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1698-8381.

 

Hopefully Australian bowler Mitchell Starc didn’t require a massage on his injured ankle, because it was the team masseur who replaced him at mid-off when he had to leave the field during the opening day of the third Australia-New Zealand Test in Adelaide on Friday.  In extraordinary scenes at the Adelaide Oval last night, massage therapist Grant Baldwin went on as a sub-fielder for Australia in the inaugural day-night Test match.

 

The decision to summons Baldwin and not one of the allocated sub-fielders from South Australian cricket was made by Test captain Steve Smith.  Baldwin, 28, was a talented Victorian second XI cricketer and was once registered for the AFL draft, but now travels the world with the Australian team as its Mr Fix It, working as a masseur and logistics help for team manager Gavin Dovey.

 

Headline: Cairns’ trial grinds on.

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Edditor.                          

Published: Saturday, 28 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1698-8382.

 

The Chris Cairns trial will enter a ninth week after the jury failed to reach a verdict after eight hours of deliberation (PTG 1690-8315, 17 November 2015).  Justice Nigel Sweeney sent the 12 jurors home for the weekend after they debated behind closed doors for five hours on top of three hours on Tuesday.  Shortly before the lunch break on Friday, the jury asked Justice Sweeney if he would accept anything less than a unanimous verdict, but he urged them to keep seeking a 12-0 result, however, given the length of the trial, said he would accept a majority verdict.   The jury will return to the Southwark Crown Court to continue considering verdicts on Monday.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,699

Sunday, 29 November 2015

 

• WCC again goes for more bat-ball balance ‘research' [1699-8383].

• Widespread criticism after ‘Hot Spot’ mark ignored during review [1699-8384].

• No review loss proposed for ‘Umpire call’ LBWs [1699-8385].

• Home Test wins ‘too significant’, non-mandatory toss trial a focus [1699-8386].

• Day-night Tests 'only part' of process needed for five-day cricket thrive [1699-8387].

• Four-day, day-night Tests in future, says CA chief executive [1699-8388].

• Game needs ‘proper context for all formats' [1699-8389].

• ‘Enormous delight’ at new ICC chairman’s ‘bullying’ comments [1699-8390].

• New UK tax legislation to impact on player benefits system? [1699-8391].

 

Headline: WCC again goes for more bat-ball balance ‘research'.

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1699-8384.

 

Consideration of the balance between bat and ball in the modern game were again discussed by the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) during its latest meeting which was held in Adelaide on Wednesday-Thursday (PTG 1695-8352, 25 November 2015).  However, as was the case in the group’s meetings over the last three years, no definitive conclusions were reached, and it was again decided "further game-wide consultation is needed" and that a report on the findings from that process "be written and brought back to the committee at its next meeting”, which will be held at Lord’s next July.

 

This week's WCC post-meeting press release says that the committee is "concerned that the dimensions of bats, notably their edges and overall depth, and the improvement in their quality has begun to distort the game”, however, it also "recognises that other factors such as boundary sizes, player fitness, shot selection, quality of pitches and behaviour of the balls also play a part”.  There was no mention of the “research" the MCC said in July it would undertake with the International Cricket Council (ICC) into the size of the seam on cricket balls, data that once collected was to be presented "at a future" WCC meeting. 

 

Almost three years ago in Auckland the WCC recommended the size of bats, particularly the thickness of their edges, be investigated because it considered the bat-ball balance an issue of "paramount importance” (PTG 1068-5192, 28 February 2013).  Eighteen months ago, apparently in somewhat of a ‘split’ decision, the committee decided that “for now” modern bat design has not yet tipped the balance sufficiently far in favour of the batsman so as to warrant a change to the Laws.  After its last meeting before Adelaide five months ago, the WCC felt that bat sizes should not get larger than is presently the case, and the committee undertook then to conduct "further research" on the matter, including "consulting bat manufacturers" (PTG 1592-7691, 15 July 2015).    

 

There have been several calls for a maximum thickness of bats to be added to Law 6 (PTG 1495-7222, 5 January 2015), while ICC chief executive David Richardson, a WCC member, thinks the balance has gone too far in favour of the bat (PTG 1515-7299, 5 February 2015), although others have a different perspective (PTG 1516-7302, 6 February 2015). 

 

Former South African player Barry Richards told ‘Cricinfo’ this week the solution should be as simple as restricting the size of the bat's edges, which these days rival the middle of his 1970 bat for their offensive power.  "You can legislate because the MCC do the rules, how long the wicket is, how far the boundaries are and that sort of stuff, so they can legislate for the bat”, Richards said. "There's no legislation for the width of the edges at the moment". 

 

Richards said he "was on [the WCC several years ago] and the first time I raised it I got the raised eyebrows, but I persevered with it, because I think it has got out of whack. I've always been a proponent for 50/50 cricket; if it's not 50/50 you've got to start looking at it, and it's not 50/50. But I think it's taken a far bigger emphasis now the injury component has come into it, people are paying more attention to it”.  "Bat manufacturers would tell you they're no different but they've got to sell bats. But we know, all these guys know, players know. But I suppose if you're a bowler and you go to the Indian Premier League and you're getting $US1 million for bowling four overs a game you're not going to complain too much”.

 

Headline: Widespread criticism after ‘Hot Spot’ mark ignored during review.

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 29 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1699-8383.

 

The Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is again under fire after a controversial call by third umpire Nigel Llong to reprieve Australian batsman Nathan Lyon halted New Zealand's charge in the third Test in Adelaide on Saturday.  The verdict left the visitors and many commentators bemused and there were loud jeers from the Adelaide Oval crowd after play was stopped for more than five minutes to review an appeal for a catch which New Zealand had referred to the video umpire.  The decision was particularly critical in that it eventually allowed Australia to turn what would have been a sizeable deficit into an invaluable 22-run first innings lead.

 

Lyon, who was on zero, was given 'not out' by umpire Sundarum Ravi after his attempted sweep against spinner Mitchell Santner hit his shoulder and ballooned to Kane Williamson at second slip, but New Zealand called for a review.  Initially defiant, Lyon began to walk towards the pavilion, getting there-quarters of the way to the boundary, after he saw ‘Hot Spot' technology projected on the large stadium screen, it showing a white mark on the edge of his bat.  But as the minutes dragged by he stopped. 

 

Third umpire Llong was not certain Lyon had hit the ball with his bat, Real-time Snicko (RTS) failing to detect a sound as the ball passed the bat.  The situation descended into farce when Llong checked for a possible LBW but the wrong ball was shown, however once that was sorted out he eventually judged he did not have sufficient evidence to overturn Ravi's decision. Llong told Ravi via radio: "I've got no conclusive evidence that he’s hit this ball. I've looked at everything I've got, I can't find anything to say he's definitely hit this”.  "No RTS, there's a mark on the bat but it could come from anywhere, from a flash, so give it not out”, concluded Llong.

 

Lyon went on to make a key 34 runs and the decision was met with widespread condemnation.  "I don't believe what I just saw”, former Australian Test captain Ian Chappell said on the Channel Nine telecast.  New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham said it was worse than the howler which cost Usman Khawaja his wicket at Old Trafford in the 2013 Ashes (PTG 1160-5613, 2 August 2013); a decision that was later called “wrong” by former umpire Simon Taufel (PTG 1163-5628, 7 August 2013).  

 

Former Test opener Chris Rogers was stunned Lyon could be given not out despite Hot Spot's finding, saying it defied common sense.  "So we're not using Hot Spot? There was a mark on the bat. What else could it be?”, Rogers said on ABC Grandstand.  “[Lyon] assumed he was out, so he walked off. All the NZ players assumed he was out.  That's when players get disillusioned – when everyone on the field thinks it's out and it's given not out; it almost seems like there's no common sense” (PTG 1685-8282, 11 November 2015).  

 

Former Australian player Shane Warne tweeted: "Horrible 5 mins of cricket & a terrible decision by 3rd umpire Nigel Long, clearly Lyon was out & not to mention the fact Lyon walked off.  Obvious mark on hot-spot, Lyon clearly hit the ball on to his shoulder & he walked off the ground. Ridiculous waste of time & wrong decision”.   Overnight, a range of media reports have referred to the incident as one of the "all-time umpiring embarrassments”, “bewildering”, “farcical”, “dreadful blunder”, and that Llong "went with the evidence, or rather or lack of it”.  Senior New Zealand's senior batsman Ross Taylor was asked about it at a press conference at the end of the day but simply quipped: "I've still got my match fee at the moment, so thank you”.  

 

So far the International Cricket Council, which has in the past offered a public explanation in such controversial circumstances, has not responded to the range of criticism by further outlining the background to Llong’s assessment of the situation.

 

Headline: No review loss proposed for ‘Umpire call’ LBWs.

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1699-8385.

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) has proposed that when the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) shows that a ball is clipping the stumps in the 'umpire’s call’ zone, the fielding side should not lose a review.  The WCC, which met in Adelaide on Wednesday and Thursday, said in a statement issued following the meeting that such a change "could then allow the removal of the reallocation of two reviews after 80 overs”.

 

The issue was highlighted in last week’s second Test in Perth between Australia and New Zealand when the visitors used their final review to refer a confident leg-before wicket appeal on the opening day.  Ball-tracking technology suggested that ball was hitting the top of middle stump, but with just under 50 percent of the ball predicted to hit the wicket, the verdict was deemed the umpire’s call and New Zealand lost their remaining challenge.

 

The MCC group hopes an upcoming Massachusetts Institute of Technology report on the accuracy of UDRS technologies will, "assuming that the systems in use are accurate”, convince the Board of Control for Cricket in India, who have remained sceptical of the system, to finally embrace it (PTG 1668-8177, 22 October 2015).  The WCC was also impressed by a report from former Australian umpire Simon Taufel on technology designed to allow the third umpire to monitor no-balls. “A fast, automated system for the calling of front-foot no-balls would be a welcome enhancement to the game”, said the committee, without indicating just what Taufel’s system involves.

 

Headline: Home Test wins ‘too significant’, non-mandatory toss trial a focus.

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1699-8386.

 

Over 70 per cent of Test victories over the last three years have been achieved by the home team and the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) is concerned that home advantage in Test Cricket now carries "too much significance”.  The WCC’s assessment, collated at its meeting in Adelaide ahead of the inaugural day-night Test this week, is that “pitches are increasingly being prepared to suit the home team but that other factors, such as "shorter tours and a lack of adequate player preparation in local conditions” (PTG 1688-8305, 15 November 2015), are contributing to the home-advantage trend.

 

In order to counter such a winning base, the committee would like to see a game-wide agreement that Ground Authorities be left alone to produce pitches that reflect local conditions whilst encouraging a fair balance between bat and ball.  The group also noted that the England and Wales Cricket Board have approved a trial in the County Championship of a non-mandatory toss at the start of such matches (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015), and decided to monitor the success of this trial before considering whether some kind of concession of the toss should be recommended for Test cricket.

 

Headline: Day-night Tests 'only part' of process needed for five-day cricket thrive.

Article from: MCC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1699-8387.

 

Day-night Tests present an opportunity for nations that currently struggle to attract spectators to such games, according to the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC).  The WCC, which met in Adelaide ahead of this week’s inaugural day-night Test, a concept the group has long advocated, says it is “delighted" that Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket have agreed to make the concept a reality.

 

The WCC though sees the current Australia-New Zealand pink ball, day-night Test as part of a wider process required to help Test cricket thrive.  It says other factors needing to be considered in that regard include the quality of pitches, marketing, ticket pricing, access for children, spectator experience and finding ways of making sure that each country’s best players are available.  

 

The committee welcomed the additional money the International Cricket Council (ICC) is allocating to the seven Full Member countries apart from Australia, England and India, in the form of a Test Match Fund (TMF), together with ICC’s consultations aimed at creating more context matches played at the game’s highest level.  However, the committee hopes that there will "be a monitoring system to ensure the money provided through the [TMF] is well utilised”.  The ICC is to pay seven of its ten full-member boards $US10 million ($A13.9 m, £UK6.7 m) over the next eight years, or $US1.25 m ($A1.74 m, £UK832,000) annually, as part of the TMF announced during last year's 'Big Three' takeover of cricket's governing body.  

 

Headline: Day-night, four-day Tests in future, says CA chief executive.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 28 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1699-8388.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is willing to champion the cause of four-day Test matches while forecasting two day-night Tests on future Australian domestic calendars each summer.   CA's chief executive James Sutherland says early feedback from the inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide is "glowing”.  He believes all future Adelaide Test matches could be day-nighters, adding that Brisbane is also a "good option" for the concept.

 

CA has held discussions with the Pakistan Cricket Board, whose team tour Australia next austral summer, about playing the next day-night Test (PTG 1687-8293, 14 November 2015).  "We are really keen on, I guess, continuing this”, Sutherland told ABC radio on Saturday. "Right place, right time, right conditions of course. But it's certainly something we would like to see in the future”.  Australia will play three Tests each against Pakistan and South Africa next summer, but Sutherland emphasised approval from other national cricket boards was needed before pursuing further day-night Tests.  "Perhaps England, India and others may be more conservative on this - time will tell”, continued Sutherland.

 

The CA chief executive also suggested four-day Tests could be tied to other innovations including a world Test championship (PTG 1695-8355, 25 November 2015).  "Personally, I like it actually being connected to some other reforms around the relevance of Test cricket - perhaps as a Test championship where the result becomes even more important (PTG 1699-8389 below).  I have heard that argument about perhaps no draws (PTG 1697-8371, 27 November 2015), but also extra points maybe for a win - you see in soccer three points for a win, one point for a draw”.  “That sort of thing is part of a league championship [and] adds extra relevance to that result and perhaps gets people to play differently”.

 

"The other thing is pitches, pitches being prepared for a four-day game rather than necessarily a five-day game.  I think that is a big, big thing. That balance between bat and ball is really important and we haven't seen that balance in the last two Test [Australia-NZ] matches here”.

 

Headline: Game needs ‘proper context for all formats'.

Article from: MCC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1699-8389.

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) believes that “a proper context for all formats” of the game is needed "more than ever”.  Presentations to the WCC in Adelaide from James Sutherland, Chief Executive of Cricket Australia and from its former Chairman, Wally Edwards, stressed the importance and need for greater context in all international cricket.  They suggested further consideration should be given to a World Test League and that most One Day Internationals should count towards qualification for the next World Cup.  

 

Allied to that, the committee agreed that a key component in the future health of the game is the balancing of the three formats, something it thinks needs to be addressed as a priority. In so doing, more thought needs to be given to how the game to distinguish and market the three formats to ensure that they complement each other in a highly competitive market place.

 

Support was also given to the "progress being made to investigate and establish a campaign for cricket to be an Olympic sport”, the recent dialogue between ICC and the International Olympic Committee being particularly welcomed (PTG 1694-8346, 24 November 2015).  A presentation was provided by CA on how best to introduce cricket into Multi Sport Games, the WCC supporting CA’s strategy to use indoor cricket to grow participation, noted their suggestion that all forms of cricket should be considered for the Olympics, and believes the Twenty20 format is the preferred option.

 

Headline: ‘Enormous delight’ at new ICC chairman’s ‘bullying’ comments.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Nagraj Gollapudi, Umar Farooq and Arun Venugopal.                          

Published: Saturday, 28 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1699-8390.

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has expressed "enormous delight" at International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Shashank Manohar's comments about “bullying” by the ICC’s so-called Big Three, while Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has also shown support to Manohar by calling him a "sensible man”.  Earlier this week Manohar said that he did not approve of the constitutional revamp at the ICC instigated last year by the three most powerful boards - the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and Cricket Australia (CA) (PTG 1697-8370, 27 November 2015). 

 

Haroon Lorgat, CSA's and a former ICC chief executive, said: "I would be less than truthful if I did not express enormous delight at Mr Manohar's comments”.  "It is indeed refreshing to have read these comments, and knowing the man I am confident that he will change the ICC structures to make it a better place so that all ICC Members and international cricket can flourish”.

 

Lorgat shared a strained relationship with Narayanaswami Srinivasan, Manohar's predecessor at both the ICC and the BCCI, for he was one of the few voices who challenged the BCCI's might at ICC board meetings. During his tenure at the ICC though, Lorgat had worked with Manohar who was serving what was then his first stint as BCCI president.  He remembered the Indian as "a strong minded" and "principled" man, qualities that he noticed again recently when senior CSA officials met the BCCI president last week in his hometown in Nagpur. "He was as straightforward as when I knew him from years back”, Lorgat said.

 

CSA was one of the three Full Members along with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PTG 1273-6137, 21 January 2014)) and SLC (PTG 1277-6153, 24 January 2014) that had strong reservations against the revamp plan drawn by a working group comprising the BCCI’s then president Srinivasan, then ECB chairman Giles Clarke, and former CA chairman Wally Edwards. But after expressing initial discomfort in the draft proposal (PTG 1273-6138, 21 January 2014), CSA eventually supported the resolutions, with its president Chris Nenzani saying, "it is not a very perfect world”.

 

Manohar stressed that his views on the ICC revamp were his "personal opinion” and they may face some resistance from within the BCCI. The key sticking point among BCCI officials is said to be that it would deny India its rightful share of the ICC's revenues.  Long-time Indian administrator Niranjan Shah, who is also president of the Saurashtra Cricket Association, said Manohar's ideas on revenue-sharing were "debatable" but agreed with his main contention that the Big Three shouldn't bully other nations. "We must look at other teams also, without them competition is not there and if there is no competition there won't be money for India also”, Shah said.

 

Headline: New UK tax legislation to impact on player benefits system?

Article from: Daily Mail.

Journalist: Lawrence Booth.                          

Published: Friday, 27 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1699-8391.

 

Cricket's tradition of season-long tax-free benefit system for veteran County players is in jeopardy because of new UK legislation that is set to come into force in April 2017.  The decision by the Conservative government, which is based on consultation following chancellor George Osborne's summer budget, to tax 'all income from sporting testimonials and benefit matches for employed sportspersons’, could also affect football and rugby.  But it is in cricket, with its tradition of season-long benefits for players of many years' service, that the new legislation may be most keenly felt.

 

Earnings of up to £50,000 ($A104,500) will remain exempt, which is at least some good news for players at the lower end of the financial spectrum.  For higher-profile cricketers, however, the plans will mean a significant shortfall in a mainly tax-free lump sum they have taken for granted ever since 1927, when Kent player James Seymour won a protracted legal case against the Inland Revenue which meant he did not need to pay income tax on benefit earnings of £939 ($A1,960).

 

As long ago as 1985, Graham Gooch earned £154,000 ($A321,800) for his benefit, while Graeme Hick is believed to have picked up £345,000 ($A720,9000 at Worcestershire in 1999.  By 2009, when Andrew Flintoff was enjoying his benefit season – traditionally a mixture of money-spinning matches, dinners and other events – proceeds were into seven figures (in excess of $2 million).  But with the fine detail of the government's plans Astill to be ironed out, there are concerns that some cricketers could now be taxed twice.

 


End of November 2015 news.